This year’s Y4 Junior Dragon Expedition comes highly recommended. We visited the eco-friendly Oikos training camp at Mkuru, situated in the beautifully, wild Maasai Steppe between Meru and Kilimanjaro (which we saw both at the same time, majestically clear).
The trip was everything a Junior Dragon trip should be: exciting, demanding & fascinating with lots of fun and new learning taking place. Learning about ourselves, our new environment and about Maasai culture. The children felt at home in their fabulous tents and were so excited to be away together.
The 15km hike up Oldonyo Lendaree was demanding and I had my doubts about taking 8 year olds up there but Y4 surpassed my expectations. Every child made it up the steep, dusty, hot trail & back and several summited. This will be a memory that will last! Well done Y4, Miss Mlay and Charles who accompanied us all the way!
Insanely wonderful! Enjoy this video of their adventure: Video Slideshow
Wednesday 10th October brought around our annual Interhouse Athletics competition. Braving the heat, our Primary students took to the sports field in the morning to compete in six different track and field events. Taking on javelin, shot put, discus, long jump, and the 400 and 100m track events, they competed in their house teams with their eyes set on the prize! In the end, the overall winners were Kilimanjaro. Well done to all of you for an excellent day of competing!
There are many benefits of competitive sports for children. Competitive sports aren’t just about winning.
The health of our children is incredibly important with growing levels of obesity and the temptation to stay indoors greater than ever. Making sure children have dedicated time where they are active, exercising and enjoying being outdoors is essential to keeping them healthy. By taking part in their weekly PE lessons, children can experience being active. With our specialist coaches they are also engaging in the right kind of exercise for their age group.
Respect for the rules
When playing competitive sports it’s essential that the children understand the rules and play by them. Learning this in a fun environment and understanding that the rules are there to keep the game fair and safe is a valuable lesson that every child can benefit from. It can also be a great influence in school and in life, and respect for rules and learning to play by them can be great for children with behavioural problems too.
Friendships are so important in childhood and some find it easier than others. Taking part in primary school sports can be a great way for children to form friendships and build relationships with their peers. In a sports team, everyone has a part to play, and even the quietest, shyest child can get involved and be part of the group. Social skills like listening, being kind and looking after your friends can all be learned by taking part in sports classes. From chatting before a game to getting to know who is good at what, taking part in competitive sports is great for building children’s social skills.
Taking part in regular sports activities has been shown to be brilliant for children’s physical development too. Building healthy muscles, engaging in cardiovascular exercise and burning calories are all essential in children’s physical development. By enjoying regular exercise, children can grow stronger and healthier in a fun, safe environment.
Competitive sports can be brilliant for building children’s confidence. From team mates telling them they’ve done a great job to accepting new challenges and accomplishing goals, competitive sports can be a real boost to self esteem. For children who love sports, taking part in sports classes can be a great way to feel a sense of pride in their achievements and grow in confidence.
Learning to lose
No matter how great a child is at sports, at some point they will experience losing, and by taking part in competitive sports classes they can learn to handle this in a safe, supportive environment. Learning to cope with failure is a lesson that can be essential in later life, from missing academic goals, to not getting a job interview. By learning that it’s okay to lose and being gracious and controlling emotions, they can develop their tolerance to stress and develop their character. Children can learn to congratulate the winners and think about how they can improve next time without taking it as a personal failure.
Teamwork is one of the most important skills people look for when hiring new staff and competitive sports is a great example of how an individual works in a team. Though that may be many years away, learning to be part of a team at a young age is the way to start. By recognising the skills of others, supporting their teammates and encouraging each other, competitive sports are great for developing children’s understanding of what it means to be a team. For certain children, becoming captain or leading a team can be a great way to discover their leadership qualities, and learning to manage and organise a team as well as being part of one.
The Year 7 trip is designed to educate our young people about the geographical magnificence of where we live and, at the same time to learn about how valleys are made, rifts are formed and the role of various eco zones in maintaining a healthy environment. Alongside this, the children are also learning one of the most important parts of history – where do we come from?
Not only are the children learning all of that but also how to be team players, build a camp, be in the wild, overcome fears and self doubt and most importantly to feel freedom, discover and have fun.
There is no better journey than a safari to the world famous caldera, Ngorongoro Crater and the place of all our roots, Oldupai Gorge. These magnificent places are exemplary to all of the above. We are extremely lucky to be able to access them.
THURSDAY 4TH OCTOBER
After packing our bus with tents, mattresses and food, we sped into the morning, crossing the great Maasai Steppes, climbing the ragged Great Rift Wall and stopped for a picnic lunch at Panorama Campsite. Perched on the edge of the rift, with Lake Manyara twinkling far below, there seemed like no better classroom for a geography lesson. While we munched our delicious lunches made by Musa, Mr Wallace delivered a fascinating lesson on how valleys are made and how the Rift was formed.
Our next stop was the viewing point on the edge of the iconic Ngorongoro Crater rim. It is absolutely beautiful. The air is crisp and the light sparkles. The skies are wide. It is hard to find words which equate the beauty of this crater. It is dreamlike.
Once more, Mr Wallace gave an informative lesson on how the caldera was formed. In fact, it was so entertaining and interesting, even a few passing tourists paused a while to glean some new information.
We drove along the rim, looking down on tumbling forests on one side and the crater on the other, a veritable knife edge. Our driver, Joshua, was excellent and careful. We arrived at Simba public campsite and wasted no time in setting up camp. Ms Lulu, Ms Doria and Mr Wallace assisted the children in putting up their tents. We were impressed with how efficiently this was done. There was great team work involved. Mr Wallace conducted a tent inspection and scored each team.
After this, it was fun and games before night fell. Duck Duck Goose was a brilliant way in letting out some pent-up energy, a favourite game of the Year 7’s. We were also visited by a rather friendly bull elephant. The children had to learn to respect the wild, be quiet and keep their distance. . . The campsite was dotted with some fat, shiny Zebra who seemed not to mind the wild games and shrieks of delight from the children. It was a dream like place to be.
After dinner, immaculately prepared by Bro Musa, we sat under the twinkling stars and told a few ghost stories, Ms Doria’s winning the prize for the scariest. Soon we were all zipped into our tents safely until morning.
FRIDAY 5TH OCTOBER
At first light, children tumbled out their tents, bursting for the loo! After a tasty breakfast, over which some rather imaginative stories of the night were shared ( warthogs trying to scuffle tents, hyena sniffings and other rather wild and exaggerated tales which only indicate wonderfully vivid imaginations ) and another tent inspection by Mr Wallace, we were on the bus again, and this time to Oldupai Gorge!
The drive is absolutely splendid. We wound our way down the other side of the rim, the world falling away into the blue and beyond, with the Serengeti like a distant dream on the horizon.
Once again, Mr Wallace kept the children completely engaged along the way, teaching biology, geography and history in an innovative and captivating manner. It was so inspiring to see children engaged in their passing world and not in their screens, taking notes for their Deep Learning Projects.
Oldupai Gorge is, well, iconic and imperative to understanding who we are and where we all came from, all of us across the world. It is hauntingly powerful and ancient. The new museum is outstanding! In fact, there is almost too much information to absorb in one visit. The children took their own tour, armed with pens, cameras and clip boards.
After wandering around the circular tour of the displays we gathered in the beautiful auditorium, which overlooks the famous gorge where the Leakeys made their world famous discoveries, shedding light and truth on our ancestors and heritage. Here Ndegere gave us an informative lecture, the gorge a perfect backdrop.
After this, we munched our packed lunches in the restaurant area and then headed down into the gorge with Ndegere, finding fossils, bones and stone tools. It is utterly incredible to think how rich this place is in history. The children were brave and strong and walked down steep stony paths in the blazing heat without complaint, thrilled with their discoveries.
I for one, was sad to leave. James did mention, “ But Miss, you said this was going to be fun?” I suspect he imagined zip lines and a fun park to be thrown in somewhere along the line…
We were happy to be back high up on the Crater where the air is cool and invigorating. That night, our friendly bull elephant called on us again, right in the middle of a marshmallow roasting party at our little camp fire. We had to walk quietly and quickly to the kitchen area. We returned to complete the sweet feast and then zipped ourselves up tightly into our tents.
Once silence descended our little explorative party, Mr Elephant soon tip toed out of the forest and, under the quiet and tremulous stars, like a proverbial ship in the night, silently made his way past our tents, a beautiful tribute to the end of our safari.
SATURDAY 6TH OCTOBER
After breakfast, the children packed up their tents, under the eagle eye of Mr Wallace, and we headed home, our heads and hearts full to the brim from this incredible foray into our history.
How fortunate we all are to live in Tanzania, so rich in heritage and blessed with one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. And even more, how incredibly lucky we are to be able to share it with the next generation, hoping that they shall hold it gently and respectfully in their hands.
Our BTEC Creative Media Production students had the opportunity of a lifetime this weekend, working as the crew for Arusha's first ever TEDx event - TEDxMajengo.
Our Early Years Coordinator, Miss Lynsey Logan, was volunteering as Event Manager for the event and, seeing the incredible opportunity for our students to experience a real, creative media production environment, invited them to be the technical crew for the event.
The students took up the roles of camera operators, sound and light operators, projection assistants and runners and worked hard to professional standards all day to help the event run smoothly. Additionally, they had the opportunity to meet the speakers and curated audience of business owners, non-profit workers, teachers, designers and young entrepreneurs from around Arusha and Tanzania.
Now, having filmed all the amazing speakers at the event, the students will edit the talks for uploading to the official TEDx website. Watch this space for their own recounts of their experience in the coming weeks.
Fantastic work and well done to you all!
Year 1/2 have been continuing their under the sea topic with some hands-on science - investigating fish, octopus and shrimp right their in their classrooms.
Amid squeals of both delight and disgust, the children got up close and personal with the creatures, learning words like fins, scales, gills, and tentacles. While some children were reluctant to pick up, or even touch the fish, others were more than happy to dive in and see what they felt like.
"Yuck! The tentacles are really slimy!" - Joshua
"My hands smell so fishy now!" - Ingrid
"Where are the gills? Can we look inside?" - Tom
"I wonder where the ink is inside the octopus." - Colin
"Wow, look at the eyes. They look like our eyes!" - Lucia
Children need their senses engaged. Hands-on science activities let children do just that, giving them a chance to engage multiple senses. Additionally, children learn by doing. Hands-on science encourages the children to DO something – observe, ask questions, touch, smell, experiment.
Allowing children to really get into science gives them the chance to make discoveries on their own. They’ll be more likely to remember a learning experience if it’s just that . . . a real experience.
Critical thinking skills are enhanced during such science activities. The children can ask the why, how, and what questions. Even better, they can help answer the questions themselves. They can learn the scientific process along the way!