Last week, Years 7 to 10 took their learning far outside the comfort of the Legend Garden campus. The students demonstrated Dulwich Values and acquired new skills through experiencing unfamiliar settings. Where did they go and what did they do?
The Year 7 students were based largely in and around Beijing for their trip week. On Monday they visited Houhai Lake for a scavenger challenge; on Tuesday they travelled to Yudushan in Yanqing county for an overnight camping trip. They had a picnic lunch, set up their campsites and prepared their own meals for dinner. Activities on the camping trip included geocaching, raft building, a treasure hunt, a talent show around the bonfire and hiking. On Thursday the students enjoyed a Chinese culture experience at Minority Park. Year 7 really developed collaboration skills and showed their resilience in dealing with situations outside their comfort zone.
The Year 8 trip took the students to Shandong province. On the first day, the students enjoyed a train journey and then set up their campsites, prepared their own meals and participated in a Master Chef-type competition judged by the teachers. The winning team produced a ramen-style noodle dish that delighted the judges. On the second day, the students hiked up a mountain and then tobogganed and water rafted back down. Other activities included zip-lining, exploring a cave system, lunch at a Chinese tea house and a visit to Butterfly Valley.
The service activity where the students planted flowers for the butterflies was a real joy to watch. In small groups of eight, the students collaborated well to plant the best straight row of flowers. They emulated the Dulwich Value of “resilience” due to working in the hot sun as well as “responsibility” for ensuring that the group planted the target of 20 flowering plants.
On the first day, the Year 9s travelled by train to Hangzhou, where they completed a scavenger hunt around West Lake and enjoyed a dinner that included many traditional Zhejiang dishes. The second day saw the students split up into their groups and follow the itineraries which they designed themselves for the rest of the trip. Activities planned by the various groups included visiting Yu Garden, hiking in the tea mountains, making small boats out of bamboo, eating scorpions, visiting Yu Fei’s Temple and Tomb, fan painting, visiting Mu Xin Art Museum, boating on the West Lake and much more. Through the process of planning the trips and devising roles for team members, the students have developed their organisational skills and increased their levels of responsibility as they progress through the school.
The Year 10 students took an overnight train journey to Guizhou, where they enjoyed Dong cultural experiences and meals in the town, delivering lessons that they had prepared in advance to school students, a 6-km hike to Tang’an town through the rice terraces, local fishing, straw sandal weaving and a bonfire with a talent show.
The main aim of the new Year 10 trip was to introduce a substantial service experience. Students spent a long time before the trip planning their activities, fundraising and trying their activities out on DCB Early Years students before delivering them to students in Guizhou. This was a richly rewarding service experience for the students that taught them a great deal about working with young children, the Dong minority group as well as the educational experiences of those less fortunate than themselves.