By Urs Cunningham | Posted: Friday June 5, 2020
Given the ongoing situation with Covid-19,we have made a decision about the school camps that usually run in term 4 each year.
Every year we hold a school camp for each hub. Our senior hub (year 5-6) attends a week long camp, with a North Island camp in the even years and a South Island camp in the odd years. Our year 3-4 hub attend a two day, one night camp somewhere reasonably close, and our junior year 0-2 hub have a day-long trip somewhere exciting, with the option of staying overnight at school.
The Covid pandemic this year has caused us to review the plan for this year. We are aware that the situation with the pandemic could change as we go through the year, with the possibility of needing to be more mindful about hygiene, distancing and being away from home, depending on the alert level we are in at the time of camps.
We are also very aware that many families have been affected financially by Covid-19. If we were to hold our usual camps, now would be the time that we would need to send out invoices for payments for the Harakeke and Pōhutukawa teams. We feel that this is not a good time to be adding more financial burden on families. Out of school camps require deposits that are generally not refundable, and with the situation being changeable, we are concerned about the possibility of families losing deposits if camps cannot go ahead.
As such, we are not running our usual camps in term 4. We are very aware that this may come as a disappointment to many students, and we also know that camps provide fabulous opportunities for our children. Therefore, we are looking to run an alternative EOTC (education outside the classroom) week for the year 5-6 team, and a two day EOTC experience for the younger two teams. Running these experiences will mean that school retains a lot of control over the trips and we can manage them ‘locally’, meaning we can easily adjust and adapt our plans if the situation with Covid-19 changes. It also allows us to support local businesses and spend more time exploring our local community. Whilst there will still be some cost attached to these experiences, the year 5-6 and year 3-4 experiences will cost far less than the usual camps, and payment will not be needed until much later in the year.
Below is a little more information about the alternative plans for each team.
We are looking at running an ‘Options Week’ during the week we would have been on camp. There will be 5 ‘tracks’ (options) that a child can opt into, and each student will opt into one track for the whole week. The possible tracks (options) at this point are:
Wheels and feet - mountain biking / trip to skate park or rec centre / walking to local areas of interest
Art - trips to art galleries / talk with an artist / create your own piece of art work
Innovation - trip to Te Papa’s Hinatore Tech Lab / Capital E / creating innovation and invention outcomes
Books and movies - plan and carry out your own trip into town to see a movie / visit Waitohi library / possibly design a book trail to go on
Sports - time at ASB Centre or BigAir gym / create own sports tournament or sporting opportunity or event at school
Each track will come with a cost to cover the day trips, but the cost will be far less than the cost of a camp. These tracks will also not involve a deposit that can be lost if change in alert levels means the trip cannot be carried out. All tracks will involve at least several trips out of school, along with exciting activities and experiences onsite at school. All tracks will involve considerable student input to ensure they have voice and choice in what happens in their track. Some trips or activities will require some parent support, but these will require commitment for only one day, rather than the week-long commitment of helping with camp.
We do know that being away from home overnight is part of the fun of camp, so if the Covid alert level at the time allows for it, we will look to either have a local noho marae stay or an overnight stay at school, perhaps involving tents in the school grounds.
Our original plan was to have a day trip and an overnight stay offsite. We are now looking at running the same fun day trip to Wellington Zoo and another close amenity, such as the ASB Centre or Kilbirnie Aquatic Centre. If the Covid alert level allows for it, we would run an overnight experience at school (sleeping in the hubs or perhaps tenting in the school grounds). All of these activities can be easily adjusted closer to the time, to fit the current situation.
The Koru overnight stay does not need to change from the usual experience. Koru team usually runs a fun day trip, followed by an optional overnight stay in the hubs at school. This can go ahead as usual, if the Covid alert level at the time allows for overnight stays to go ahead.
We will be talking with Harakeke and Pōhutukawa teams about this change in plans, to let them know what is coming up. Later in term 3 we will be in touch with parents with much more detail about the EOTC plans. Early in term 4 older students will work with teachers to opt into their 'track' and begin designing what it could look like.
Whilst we understand that not going on our usual camps may be disappointing for children, we are really excited by the new opportunities our options tracks can offer, and we really like the idea of students having a lot of input into what their experiences look like, based on their passions and interests.
We will be back in touch about these experiences later in term 3.
The Amesbury team