Every year, our Middle and Senior School students head outside for a week to learn beyond the four walls of a classroom.
Education outside the classroom (EOTC) week happens at the beginning of the year to give students the chance to come together and collaborate, challenge themselves, show leadership and learn resilience.
Years 7, 9, 11, 12 and 13 typically go on adventures outside Wellington, and Years 8 and 10 explore what the capital city has to offer. This year, the Year 7 camp in Tea Pot Valley was postponed due to the Nelson fires, so staff and students had a Wellington-based camp. They made the most of their situation by visiting the Terracotta Warriors at Te Papa and enjoying the last of summer at Oriental Bay.
“It was sad that we didn’t get to go to Tea Pot Valley,” Year 7 student Amelia George says. “My favourite part of the Wellington-based camp was going to the beach and having a sandcastle competition, which my class won. It was also interesting to learn about the Terracotta Warriors and how they were made and why.”
EOTC activities develop resilience, and some students overcame fear by rising to the challenge of dealing with unknown situations.
Victoria Ryan went on the Year 12 camp to the Wairarapa and pushed through her fear of enclosed spaces to give caving a go. “Throughout my life, claustrophobia has made me weary of going into tight areas or getting into large crowds,” she says.
“I was challenged during caving as I had to walk through narrow passages and duck low to get past low ceilings while having ten girls filling up the space in front and behind me. Before doing this activity, we were told that if we felt anxious about going into the cave, we didn’t have to go however, I decided to set myself a challenge of fully completing the course of the cave. This was a good method of overcoming my fear as it kept my mind focused on succeeding, so the possibility of getting stuck in the cave didn’t cross my mind.”
Students also learnt the value of collaboration and helping each other. Year 11 students did the Abel Tasman trek, a three-day kayak and walk, which sees people push themselves to the limit.
Georgia Thirkell says the most challenging part of the tramp was dealing with the weight of her pack, but she was helped by others in her group. “I had recently injured my shoulder, and it wasn’t quite better yet but the support from my group and teachers on the tramp ensured that I had a great time and the weight often felt like it wasn’t there.
“I had high expectations going into this tramp, but the Abel Tasman exceeded every one of them. I got closer with my friends and got to see gorgeous scenery.”
Year 9 student Eleanor Bartlett also learnt the value of collaboration while on the Marae.
“Our biggest challenge was learning to live with each other in close quarters, if only for a few days,” Eleanor says.
“We overcame this with a bit of a struggle, and came together in the end. A highlight was when we quietened down in the night to listen to a story read by fellow students and Mrs (Nadine) Allen.”