Beauty, simplicity and the power of nature can promote calm, peace and wellbeing.
Year 7S recently ventured off the beaten track to immerse themselves for a good long week of walking with packs - brimming with supplies they had cooked and dehydrated during the four weeks prior to the camp, into the wilderness of the Guy Fawkes National Park.
Imagine as a 12 to 13 year old, walking for days beside a pristine river, rhythms lulling you into the natural world, where one can take the time to be alone with one's thoughts, and can feel both alive and free.
The children soon fell in sync with nature. Half of any given day was spent walking, the remainder was about collecting firewood, swimming, exploring and setting up camp. Off to sleep when it was dark. Rising at dawn refreshed and ready to do it all again.
These are powerful experiences that we may have once taken for granted in previous generations. Yet opportunities like these find deep resonance with the youth of today; perhaps all the more pertinent in contrast with the overcrowded busyness of modern life.
Being totally immersed in nature provided opportunities for holistic, inclusive, accessible lessons for all learners -including the adults. Lessons in the bush can be multi-sensory, active, rich and varied, often disrupting the traditional indoor classroom hierarchies and limitations. Left in nature long enough I am sure this happens to us all - after only a few short days the children began to socialise and interact in new and different ways with peers and adults. Detoxing from our comfort zones we met the unpredictable, weathered the uncomfortable, shared songs and stories, forged new friendships and came back having had experiences which can be transformed into new faculties that will continue to unfold.
Many thanks to all our supporters - the families of the students who readied them and sent them off in trust; the adults who came along; the School - which has the courage to make these wilderness adventures possible; and the wider community who helped is with our camp preparation.
Class 7 Teacher