Last week I accompanied Anya and her year group on a school trip to Windsor Castle. It was great fun and I loved spending extra time with her and making memories together.
I was a little disappointed as I has been on the equivalent trip with Matthew 3 years ago and we’d gone to Hampton Court. We have been to Windsor twce in the last 3 months so I didn’t find it quite as exciting, plus I had signed up before knowing the date which was the same as the Toy Fair in London. Mum blogger dilemma: what did I put first? Being a mum or being a blogger? No contest obviously…
Anyway, I digress.
I’m not sure if you know the level of planning that has to go into a school trip. Risk assessments, safeguarding factors, access arrangements as well as the general content of the day and organisational minutiae. Careful consideration is given to groups to make sure that any potentially disruptive behaviour is minimised. I wore a stylish high-vis vest and had my trusty backpack containing notes, itinerary and the all important lunch.
The excitement of the kids was making the room vibrate when we arrived at the classroom. The coach could have driven on the energy they were creating!
Every 2 minutes on the coach I was asked how long until we arrived. Imagine the game of ‘are we nearly there yet?’ played by 60 kids…? Luckily my knowledge of the route helped me to provide accurate information and point out when to look and in which direction, yay me!
We arrived at the learning centre and there began the great toilet trip of 2019. Whilst waiting, the first cries of hunger emerged and horror reigned as the kids were informed that lunch was another 2 hours away…
And that is how the next 2 hours passed! I think EVERY child asked when lunch was due rather than enjoying the spectacle of the castle. One boy was even concerned that someone would deliberately break into the learning centre to take his lunch bag and wanted me to go and check it was safe!
Finally the great moment came and lunch was enjoyed by all, phew! I was quite happy with my first vegan packed lunch of a cheese and Quorn ham sandwich:
We finished up the trip with a workshop and tour of St George’s Chapel. Again my historical knowledge and past visits meant I could point out important details such as the tomb of King Henry VIII.
The homeward journey was full of excitement as it snowed! Plus I had to deal with a nosebleed of the boy 4 seats in front…
This trip was pretty standard. It followed the same pattern that I remember from my own experience of working in schools: one trip to the British Museum, we spent longer having lunch than looking at the exhibits and even longer on the coach!
Kids are obsessed with lunch, the present, the physical. They often learn without knowing that it is happening, absorbing like sponges whilst seemingly unaware.
So why are school trips important? They offer an experience that some children may never get the opportunity to enjoy. Yes, Anya and our family have been to Windsor twice recently. We have had lots of days out, exploring the different amazing things our country has to offer.
Some parents do not or cannot offer the same to their children. Some children may have life experiences limited to their home and school. This isn’t a judgment on parents. It is a fact. Food, heating, rent is more valuable to the immediate comfort of a family.
Schools in turn are hugely limited by rising costs that mean school trips are not as prevalent as they seemed to be when I was at school. Trips are usually subsidised by the school’s already stretched budget.
The staff at my daughter’s school are fantastic and they made the day memorable for all. The children may not be able to tell their parents much about the day (kids are notoriously bad at reporting back on a day’s events, as I know from my own kids!) and the focus may be all on lunch.
The excitement, the chatter, the views, the history, the geography, the art. These are all priceless and beyond description, especially that available to 5 and 6 year olds.
I wonder where the school will pick for 3 year’s time when it is Zach’s turn…
All photos with the exception of me and my lunch are from our previous visits.