Central to the ethos and philosophy of Village School is the commitment to the development of a strong self-concept in each student. Without a firm belief in yourself as a worthwhile person, other skills and talents cannot be utilised to the full.
Why do we go on camp?
We strive to give the children a growing level of independence, and the belief that they can control their lives, and make a difference to others.
This starts gradually from prep, when students are given discussion and negotiating skills, shown how to explain how they feel, and how the action of others affect them. It’s a little harder to accept the effect of their own actions on others, and the ensuing consequence.
Students are encouraged to think, and to think for themselves. They decide on the best course of action in many situations, both work and play, and are involved increasingly in decision making at the Home Group level.
You can’t expect anyone to be independent unless you give them the opportunity to “try it out” and in real life settings.
These real life settings take the form of accepting work loads, leading meetings and disciplining peers, meeting deadlines, researching and presenting, coping with our tricky devious and sometimes mutinous animals, looking after equally tricky younger people, helping to run school activities such as fairs and sleepovers, and, the major event, school camp.
Camp is central to our teaching method
School camp is a major step in developing self-confidence and independence as it is truly a chance to take responsibility for oneself.
Obviously, when on camp, children are not left to fend for themselves without help and support, but the help and support has to be very different, because Mum and Dad are not the ones giving it.
Decisions have to be made about where to sleep, what to eat, what to wear, (yes we have had the odd one who returned home attired as he had left, but we did insist in at least one shower), which activities and excursions to take part in, and the choice of appropriate behaviour.
On camp, children to varying degrees depending on their age and experience, really do have to shoulder their challenges and make decisions about the best course of action for themselves and others.
None of us know what is around the corner, and the sudden illness of a parent could mean that children are faced with having to fend for themselves more than usual, or, spend time with others until home is back to normal.
After school camp, children know that they can survive without their family - no one is suggesting that this become their preferred situation - and the difference in them as confident people is very apparent.
- They know that they can rely on themselves, their peers, and adults other than their families.
- They know that they can use their own skills and abilities to help others and themselves.
- They bring back news of activities and experiences which no one else in the family can contradict or embellish, and, which they can enjoy sharing.
- They also come back very tired. All this independence really takes it out of you!