Residential Blog - Day 1
We have had such an amazing first day!
We were all practically bouncing out of our coach seats in excitement as soon as we saw the buildings of Southampton disappear and all the trees and open fields of the New Forest come in to view! We talked about the differences between a city and the countryside. Many of us linked our ideas to our previous Year 4 environmental topics!
After we arrived, we settled into our rooms (making beds was quite an experience!). Next we had a tour of the farm. We got to wear tractor suits so we felt professional! We loved exploring a working farm and were fascinated by all the animals! We showed off our research of farm animals which impressed the staff!
As a test of our newly-learnt knowledge, we had to complete an orienteering challenge to locate pictures around the farm which gave us a letter. It was great fun!
Following this it was a scrumptious lunch which we devoured quickly! We are taking it in turns to be servers and organise our tables.
We then had some time to explore our accommodation and chill out together before heading off in our groups to complete our first farming duties! One group had to feed the poultry, one the cattle and goats, another did the nature survey (held rabbits and tried honey from the hive!) whilst one laid the tables ready for dinner.
Now we are enjoying our dinner and excited to see what tomorrow brings.
Yesterday was amazing - today was EVEN better!! After successfully surviving our first night away from home, we were woken by the smell of a hearty, cooked breakfast. Feeling energised for the day ahead, we then began our morning farm duties, which involved feeding the animals, collecting eggs and a spot of gardening. We were then greeted by the arrival of our 'Day Trippers', who were joining us on our adventure into the forest.
Kitted out in warm clothes, several pairs of socks and our welly boots, we trekked through the New Forest, marveling at the sights and sounds surrounding us. We finally arrived the Tree house Centre, cleverly camouflaged amongst the trees. We got stuck straight in to our first activity- Pond Dipping.Once we had all been allocated our roles, we set about discovering the creatures lurking beneath the icy surface of the pond. We swished our nets in a figure of 8 and collected numerous specimens to study in our magnifying pots. Using a Classification Key, we were able to identify Dragonfly Nymphs, Water Boatmen, Crested Newts and even a Freshwater Clam!
By lunchtime, we were famished and needed some time to reflect and recharge our brains and bodies for the afternoon's adventures. During our lunch, we were invited to climb a spiral staircase to the top of the Tree House tower, from where we were able to enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
Replenished and refueled, we made our way to a clearing in-between the towering trees and were set the challenge to build a shelter. We really impressed Chris and Owen (our leaders) with our craftsmanship and teamwork; they were forced to declare us all winners! We then continued to wow them with our knowledge of survival skills, which we have been exploring and writing about in school!
Upon our return, we headed straight outside for our evening farm duties before enjoying a delicious Christmas feast (complete with crackers and corny jokes!).
What better way to end our incredible experience than toasting marshmallows on a camp fire! We even managed an impromptu rehearsal of our Christmas performance songs! Mrs Harrison would have been impressed with our rendition of 'On a Starry Night' - how apt!
Home tomorrow, with all the memories and stories to share with our families....
Our final day dawned and the drizzling rain mirrored our bittersweet moods. We were all excited to get home and see our families but at the same time we didn't want to leave! We didn't have much time to dwell though as it was all systems go from the moment we opened our eyes! Beds stripped, possessions packed - and recovered from some rather obscure hiding places - all before breakfast!
With our rooms empty, bags by the door and our bellies full from our final delicious breakfast, we headed out to complete our farm duties for the last time. There was gardening to be done, hungry animals to feed, eggs to be collected and little rabbits to visit. Everyone was feeling a little emotional saying goodbye to the animals that we had been caring for although, for some, the emotions soon changed when certain cheeky goats tried to wrestle the food buckets from our hands!
We spent the rest of the morning in our groups completing some team challenges. Our team work, creativity and communication skills were tested to their limits as we designed an egg protection basket, guided our blind-folded friends around challenging obstacles and used individual sections of guttering to guide a ball from one end of a course to another. Not only did we have lots of laughs (especially when communication lines between 'over' and 'through' became slightly blurred!), but we learned valuable lessons in the importance of listening, having a growth mindset and working together. What a fitting end to our trip!
Once our picnic lunch was consumed, the time had come to remove our tractor suits and welly boots one final time. At this point Chris awarded the winners of the room points with medals made from Beaulieu Troll Gold (we are still a little suspicious of this claim!)
Our home shoes on and our bags loaded on to the coach, we all felt chocked up waving goodbye to Chris, Owen and the other incredible staff that had made our adventure simply unforgettable. In the background we spotted the other half of the Year 5 children unpacking and making their beds. For us, the adventure was over but for them, it had just begun.
The journey home was quiet, for everyone was reflecting on all the things that they were taking away with them, all the memories that had been made. Back in school, we all sat on the tables (as our chairs had been taken for KS1 Christmas performance!) and used the special gifts presented to us by Chris in order to discuss our experiences:
Stick - What things will stick with us forever?
Leaf - What things did we leave behind? (Ironically this had some real answers like our money and a sock!)
Rock - What rocked about the trip?
Just before the clock struck for home time, we had a cinema-style slide show of all the pictures from across the week which brought about many gasps of delight and chuckles!
Before we knew it it was time to be reunite with our families. It felt weird to separate after our days together, but we couldn't wait to tell our families all about our adventures on Home Farm.