School camps are central to our teaching method, and help students develop confidence in their ability to look after themselves.
We currently offer two camp experiences each year – a school sleepover at the end of Term 2 and a whole school camp in Term 4.
School camps at Village School
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 actions 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
- school camps
Camp as curriculum
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, which activities and excursions to take part in, and the choice of appropriate behaviour.
On camp children really do have to shoulder their challenges and make decisions about the best course of action for themselves and others, depending on their age and experience.
Unexpected events at home or in life can 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 if need be, 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!
Our school camp program
Our school camp program evolves over the years to suit the needs of the students and school community.
In its current form, our camp program includes two main “camping” events – school sleepover and end of year camp.
School sleepover is generally held at the end of Term 2, and consists of students “camping out” at school in the classrooms.
They are dropped by parents at school in the morning, and don’t go home until school time the following day.
Students need to pack an overnight bag, and ensure that they’ve brought everything they need to have a comfortable stay overnight at school.
They have a lot of fun building sleeping cubbies amongst the classroom tables and chairs, and often hold an event at the end of the day, such as the student-organised “Village Idol” talent performances.
We provide dinner and often watch a movie or read a book to help children settle down for the night, and everyone enjoys a communal breakfast the next morning, and a sense of accomplishment.
Children who aren’t ready to stay away from their parents often participate in the shared activities, and are picked up by their parents when they are ready to go home, allowing every child to be included regardless of age or ability.
End of year camp
Our end of year camp is generally held in Term 4, in the week before the Cup Day long weekend.
Over the years, we have spent camp at a number of different sites, and arranged our school groups accordingly.
Our previous camp locations have included:
- Wilsons Prom
- Lord Somers
- Campsea Downs
- Camp Oasis and
- Phillip Island
- Camp Rumbug
Unlike many schools, our entire school from Prep to Year 6 is invited to attend camp, and almost all children participate enthusiastically.
The younger children may be a little reluctant to stay away from home for so long, and we can adapt their participation to suit, with shorter durations or occasional parent phone calls helping them to enjoy their time away from home.
Although we are happy for parents to stay nearby in case their child needs support, we prefer that parents stay out of sight and out of mind so that children have the opportunity to discover that they can indeed cope on their own.
And of course the whole school community is there to support everyone to feel safe, happy and comfortable while away on camp.
Our students invariably come home from camp happy and tired, with a fantastic collection of stories to share and a newfound confidence that warms our hearts.
Past camp experiences
In the past we have also run a 2-night “performance camp” during Term 3 to help students focus on preparing for the whole school performance and also to further develop their independence and confidence at being away from home.
School camp activities
School camps allow students to get involved in a fantastic range of fun and engaging activities, that also help them develop confidence and self-reliance.
Past activities at our school camps have included:
- Flying foxes
- Candle making
- Mountain climbing
- Beach activities e.g. swimming, digging holes, games
- Halloween celebrations
- Bush walking
- Giant swings
- Night walks
- Sand castle competitions
- Studying reptiles
- Making pancakes
- Decorating t-shirts
Here are some examples of the experiences that our students have had while away on camp.
A didgeridoo player
At Lord Somer’s camp a visiting indigenous didgeridoo player talked and played to the children, enhancing the experience by finishing with a ‘healing ceremony’ with the didgeridoo.
Climbing Mt Oberon
Mt Oberon is always a challenge for the children at the Wilson’s Prom camp. Some take off running and quickly realise a steadier pace is needed.
Others need breaks, but keep persevering. The view they see at the top stays with them for years, and they’re the first to volunteer to climb the next time they visit.
Lots of unstructured time
A big attraction of Wilson’s Prom is its relaxed nature and lack of many structured activities.
This allows the children to really relax into the area, find their peace and go off with little groups and an adult, to see what they can find.
Spotting a snake is always a slightly nervous highlight!
Our learning programs
For more information on our learning programs, please see: