Knowing that schools trips have multi-layered benefits that extend from social to scholarly, parents can help children prepare in advance, ensuring the best possible overnight.The American International School · Vienna share with us their best tips to help students (and parents!) prepare for overnight school trips.
Parents know: overnight school trips can be an exciting opportunity for their child. Away from the closeness of family and expectations of school, children bond with fellow students and with teachers. Throughout the course of the trip, the group becomes a whole, fostering confidence, cooperation and interdependence, qualities that are crucial to successful academic and personal growth.
Knowing that schools trips have multi-layered benefits that extend from social to scholarly, parents can help children prepare in advance, ensuring the best possible overnight.
“Students come away from these trips with a new-found independence and excitement for learning among their peers,” says David Straffon, Middle School Principal at the American International School Vienna. Every year, his Grade 6 students take a three-day trip to the Austrian Alps, where students hike the mountains, visit a salt mine and perform trust exercises in a learning environment. “We can’t replicate this kind of experiential learning and growth inside the classroom. Overnight trips are a fundamental part of our education.”
How do you help your child make the most of this opportunity? Here are five tips to follow:
1. Talk About It (A LOT)
For many students, the occasion can mark the first time they are away overnight without their families. Making sure your child understands the schedule and routines that will be followed may help curb any fears about what the trip will be like. Stress the fun stuff: hanging with friends, seeing a new part of the country, getting to know the teachers. It will be a bonding experience that will influence the whole school year.
2. Be Positive
Kids pick up emotion in their parents’ voices. Make sure that, when you are talking about the trip, you are using positive language and reinforcing how enjoyable it will be.
3. Don’t ‘What If’
Being positive includes not peppering your child with what-if scenarios. The teachers and staff in attendance are there to help, should your child need anything. That is what they need to know.
4. Empower Their Decisions
Let your child help decide what to pack. Having a say in which pajamas or sleeping bag to bring will help them “own” the process.
5. Make a ‘To-Know’ List Together
Get your child excited about the experience by giving hints about what you’ll be wanting to know about. Say, “You’ll have to let me know how high you hike.” Or, “When you go on the boats, I’ll be interested to hear who you got to ride with.” In this way, they can envision the trip beforehand and also, while it is happening, recall your friendly voice in their head.
Remember: the most important thing is for children to come away from the trip happy. Sure, they will be tired, but if all goes according to plan, they will be well on the road to being capable, brave and adventurous students, inside and outside of the classroom.