By Andrew Bailey, Grade 4 teacher
Springtime is around the corner, and many will take to the road to explore places in China they have not yet been too. Grade 4 students will be no exception, as they are soon headed together for their first overnight excursion away from family and the comforts of home. This will be traveling for learning at its best.
We recently had our first meeting with the students, parents, teachers and a representative of Green Steps Adventures, who will be leading us all all (minus the parents of course) to a remote mountain in Lin’an, just a few hours away from Shanghai. There were many questions from the students: about roommates, activities and so forth; many of the questions however were centered on whether or not they could bring electronic devices.
Resoundingly the message given was, no, as this trip is an introduction to the beauty of nature and the pleasures of taking part in outdoor challenges, to team building challenges intended to teach them how to succeed in life, to problem solving and the development of leadership and creative thinking skills. During the two days, students will have the chance to participate in caving, climbing, orienteering, games, trekking, team building exercises, outdoor dance classes, and much more.
The parents expressed much support for this idea of the students getting away from the internet, the chat rooms, the gaming and so forth for a couple of days, even as the students looked a bit uncertain as to whether or not such a life barren of electronic lifelines to the world would be possible.
Those of us who went on the trip last year, both the teachers and the ones who are now students in Grade 5, know what a pleasant surprise Grade 4 is in for. Old fashioned social activities such as talking, laughing together, singing on the buses to and from Lin’an, storytelling and a whole lot of learning from the Green Steps nature Experts are things that just might convince them to put away those devices more often when they come back.
Be sure and ask a fourth grader about the trip when they come back. We will be going April 27th-28th.