For many years now, in fact probably for at least as long as many of us have been alive, schools have taken many of their students on annual grade tours. From bush camps to veld schools, to tours at luxury lodges, our students have experienced a wide variety of places all filled with their own specialities. I remember going on these tours when I was in Primary School and the anticipation and excitement was always huge.
Fast forward to 2018 and many parents and staff are asking the question – is there still a need for schools to be taking students on tour each year? I believe the question is being asked due to some of the following concerns:
- The cost of tours is becoming increasingly expensive – family budgets are tight.
- Safety and security is becoming more and more of an issue.
- The level of responsibility for the staff on tours has reached new levels, often resulting in a lot of stress and worry.
- Monitoring of behaviour and discipline is very difficult at times.
I have recently returned from a tour, and while I felt it went well, I also found myself asking these same questions and my immediate response was: “I’m done – no more tours!”
However, after some reflection, I was reminded of some very important benefits which the tours afford our children:
1) Our students get to experience different parts of our country, not often seen by them before.
2) The interaction between the students outside of the classroom is fascinating to watch and often new friendships are formed.
3) Staff and students are able to interact in a way which can create greater bonds amongst each other and can lead to better classroom experiences.
4) Students get to play – something many of them don’t do anymore!
5) School unity is often increased due to team building activities.
Therefore, if I weigh up the positives and negatives of school tours, I would say there is still a need for them and they still have so much value. Yes, as mentioned, there are difficulties and maybe in years to come we may see the end of them, but in the meantime lets enjoy the trip and everything that comes with it!
Have a great week!
Deputy Principal – Primary School