As many of you know, education is in a state of transformation and I am a supporter of this cause. As we change our educational system to better meet the needs of all, it is important that we continue to support student field trips. Why? They build community. Without community we can’t build the system our students deserve and need. Without community we simply become individuals on a mission of self learning. As a community we become a team dedicated to helping everyone learn.
Last week I had the pleasure of participating in one such community building field-trip, our Grade 6 Southern Alberta Bible Camp (SABC) trip. It was a blast. Although our activities during this trip had a curricular base, the students did not learn a lot of curricular objectives. Instead, they learned and practiced a lot of skills that they need as 21st century learners. Some of these were:
Walking Together – Walking together is our faith plan this year. Students and staff are aware we are on our life journey together. Life is not a solo mission.
Celebrate – We are blessed to be a faith community. Celebrate your faith with others.
Enjoy life – Whether it is trying to eat spaghetti with a potato masher or just spending some time with a friend. Enjoy life!
Be confident – Some people love a stage to perform, others do not. For those that do, seize the moment and perform. We all have gifts. Find them and use them.
Be adaptive – You can try new things, like a mountain scooter. If you do not want to race down the hill, go at it at your own pace. Life is not a race.
Value diversity – We are all unique, we are all special. We value the many gifts and perspectives of the people around us.
Lend a helping hand – Help your friend, your neighbour, or even an enemy. Simply, be helpful and kind.
Enjoy the moments – Enjoy the little things in life. The quiet moments, the moments around a camp fire watching the flames with your friends.
Take a risk – Be a risk taker. You may try new things. You may fail, but if you have the proper supports you will learn from your mistakes. Fail forward.
Collaborate – Work together to solve a problem. Collaboration can be a lot of work, but the reward is immense.
Be creative – A simple rock can be many things. Even I can create the image of a mountain on a rock (the real piece does look better).
Be a steward of the environment – We are here to take care of the earth, not to simply use it irresponsibly.
This is not an extensive list of 21st century skills. It does illustrate that community building trips, like our grade 6 trip, serve an educational purpose. More importantly though, they build the foundation of community that learning will sit upon. The better the community, the better the foundation, the better the learning environment.
PS – A big thank to our parents for the support of this trip. For your many hours of fundraising and for your trust in us. Also, a huge thank you to the staff and students for your willingness to come on the trip. Without staff support and student participation, this trip would not occur. Thank you.