The School Trip, Australian Style

anz winter14It was only a couple of weeks ago that I ran a reprint of one of my Australia and New Zealand magazine articles, that one was called Fun for Kids. I’m running another reprint today, mainly because I’m getting a bit behind with them, and this one is about even more fun for kids, not so much for the parents though.

It’s about the school trip. This article appeared in the magazine’s ‘Winter’ edition, an extra addition which comes out in, well, winter, which is why trying I’m on catch up. They called it…

The beach school

TallebudgeraI must admit I was quite horrified when my 10-year-old daughter came home asking if she could go on the school trip to Tallebudgera. Day trips are great, I love those, but this thing was for four whole days and four whole nights. Elizabeth has never spent that long away from her mum and dad in her life, how would she cope?

How would we cope?

The rules were very clear as well, absolutely no contact unless there is some kind of emergency. The point of this trip was to encourage students to grow toward increased independence and self confidence. Shockingly, I considered fixing Elizabeth up with a mobile phone that she could smuggle on the trip with her because, you won’t be surprised to hear, they were banned too. Luckily I saw sense and ditched that idea, but this was one trip I wasn’t looking forward to.

It was a long four days for both me and my wife, but how was it for Elizabeth? At about 2:30 PM on the Friday we were both there to meet her as she arrived back; the huge smile on her face told us immediately she’d had a great time.

Awesome! Awesome!” She said as she walked away from the school bus dragging her huge pink luggage bag behind her. Over the next few days we got to hear all about it and the amazing things she had got up to.

Tallebudgera Beach School

Tallebudgera Beach School is on the Gold Coast. They’ve been running these camps for so long that even some of my daughter’s teachers remember going there when they were kids.

But what exactly did Elizabeth get up to?

She learnt about the indigenous history of the area, for example, that Burleigh Mountain is referred to as ‘Jellurgal’ by the Kombumerri people, who belong to the Yugambeh. Not even I knew that. She took part in ‘Challenges’ which enabled her and her peers to rate themselves for persistence, organisation, confidence, getting along and resilience.

Many of those challenges involved getting into the creek…

Tallebudgera_CreekThe kids kept records throughout the camp so they could monitor how healthy and active they were in terms of drinking enough water, using sun cream, eating fruit and veg as well as personal hygiene and physical activity. It was down to the kids, seven per cabin, to keep it tidy and there were inspections daily.

They covered sustainability, food waste management, surf awareness, basic first aid and had fun tobogganing, surfing and canoeing. As Elizabeth wrote in her ‘My Beach School Experience’ book, “I loved camp it was an awesome experience for me. I have learned new things and made new friends and had amazing fun!” Can’t say better than that.

Elizabeth has now gone into year six, her last year at our local junior school before she’s off to the seniors. It’s been a fantastic school; she has loved it and has really got on well with each and every one of her teachers.

When we moved to Australia seven years ago it was primarily in the hope that this country would be a better place to bring up our little girl; we have no doubts we have succeeded in that. And her school has played a big part in that as well.

Year six will bring with it another school trip though, Canberra this time.

For more information about this trip, please see:

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