Residentials; what are the benefits beyond fun?

Date Posted: 27/01/2016

School Travel Organiser takes a look at some of the benefits of residential trips and in particular Kingswood, a residential organisation located at ten different sites, which offers school groups a range of activities to support learning outside the classroom.

Some parents may see residentials as simply a chance for children to stay up late and get out of school, however the benefits for student learning as well as personal development should not be underestimated.

Head of learning and adventure at Kingswood, Matt Healey believes a well-delivered residential can give students the chance to take away much more than just memories. 

“Learning outside the classroom with Kingswood opens the door to personal development opportunities, building confidence in young people to try challenges in a new environment,” Matt said. “From achieving a personal goal by scaling our climbing tower, or constructing a raft with fellow class members for the first time, every activity at our centres is designed to boost students’ wellbeing, increase engagement back in the classroom and develop the skills needed in order to better manage the pressures of school life.

“Just as every class has a mix of personalities, we understand that there is no ‘one way fits all’ approach to learning on a residential, which is why we tailor every single adventure. We think it’s important to learn through a mix of fun activities, theory and practical experience.

“We also strongly believe that learning outside of the classroom helps students to prepare for important milestones. Whether students are approaching exams, embarking on apprenticeships or applying for their first job, the practical skills gained from an outdoor residential can last a lifetime. Aside from being able to approach challenges with a more structured mind set, each of our programmes is focused on helping young people to develop life skills and make better informed choices, which will improve their employability and self-confidence as they embark on their next steps in life after school.”

Here we take a look at just some of the reasons why a school residential trip to Kingswood can aid students’ learning and development, which can be taken back to the classroom and beyond.

Team work – work constructively as a team member

All of Kingswood’s activities carry an element of team building, however sessions, such as raft building, carry a particular focus and help to develop teamwork skills, which can be transferred and used at school, at work and in everyday situations. Tasks which ask pupils to work together also encourage empathy with others, developing school cohesion, friendships and well-being. 

Communication – communicate effectively with others

Closely linked to teamwork, communication is once again prevalent in all of Kingswood’s sessions in the form of speaking and listening, and non-verbal forms, such as writing and artistic expression. Students will communicate with their peers, the activity leader and teachers to share ideas and information and complete challenges as a team.

Problem solving – devise a plan, execute it and review its effectiveness in solving a problem

Kingwood’s learning model follows a ‘plan, do, review’ format. Activity sessions, such as low ropes and orienteering, task pupils to think strategically and consider a variety of possible options before executing their plan. Once the activity has been completed students will also be asked to review the session collectively and consider the positive and negatives of the planning and action phases.

Resilience – demonstrate resilience through exposure to failures or setbacks

At Kingswood children may be faced with new challenges, such as archery or surfing, where their determination and perseverance to continue trying a new skill will be tested. Students will need to draw on their resilience to accept the setbacks.

Kingswood offers progressive sessions so pupils can continue to build their resilience as well as see their improvement, which rewards their determination and perseverance and consequently builds confidence.

Self-confidence – demonstrate self-confidence and show trust and support for others

Kingswood offers a new environment for students, which can be intimidating, particularly if it is their first time away from home. However, it also gives the opportunity for pupils to find new strengths and confidence as they are encouraged to give new experiences a go, which in familiar circumstances they might have shied away from.

Motivation – be an enthusiastic and motivated group member

Activity leaders and teachers will be on hand to motivate and inspire, but staying motivated when challenges are put in front of them as well as understanding how their behaviour and attitude affects those around them are both key learning objectives at Kingswood.

Learning a skill – demonstrate a new skill or competence

The range of activities that Kingswood provides means it’s unlikely that students won’t learn at least one new skill whilst away on the residential. Activities including abseiling, kayaking and fencing are available and skills such as tying a knot, using friction to light a fire or even simply making a bed for the first time can also form part of the visit.

Whether students are learning an everyday or specialist skill, it can inspire, motivate and enhance confidence, particularly for those who may struggle in other learning environments.

For more information e-mail schools@kingswood.co.uk.

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