Outdoor Education trips and expeditions
Challenge of Choice
Our Outdoor Education programme operates from an ethos of 'Challenge of Choice.' This principle refers to each participant's responsibility to choose his or her level of risk-taking in the learning experience. It is based on the belief that significant learning occurs when one pushes oneself out of a known 'comfort zone,' while at the same time recognising that each person's experience will be different.
This encourages respect for one another, the skill of making one's own choices free of peer group pressure and promotes an experience where everyone contributes to each other's choices and self-esteem development.
The UWCSEA Outdoor Education programme in Primary School is designed to take students into the unfamiliar and present them with age-appropriate challenges which require them to assimilate and adapt.
From the test of a classroom sleepover in Grade 1, we build upon the challenges for students year after year in order to provide the confidence and self-esteem that inevitably follow mastering a skill and overcoming obstacles. As they progress through Grades 2 to 5, we place students in varied situations, for increasing lengths of time. We give them opportunities for personal and social development that are impossible to replicate in a classroom. In each new environment, students are challenged to reveal their willingness to take risks, to show compassion to others, to demonstrate initiative and enterprise, skill and care, teamwork and leadership.
The expeditions in Middle School build on the foundation of confidence, skills and teamwork that students develop through the Junior School trips. All Grade 6 and 7 students go on expeditions to Malaysia, while Grade 8 students spend two weeks in Chiang Mai, Thailand. These challenging and fun expeditions provide invaluable learning experiences, and elements from these trips are drawn into the classroom across the academic curriculum. All students are expected to participate in their grade’s trip each year.
Each expedition is well within the capabilities of the students, though they may discover that they are taken 'out of their comfort zone.' Each adventure requires a level of commitment and offers students the chance to succeed in a new setting. Students not only enjoy these trips, but are often surprised to find that they possess the determination, adaptability and sense of teamwork to rise to the challenges presented.
In Grade 9, students select the type of trip they undertake in the Grade 9 Adventure Programme. These expeditions take place throughout the school year, during holidays. There are limited places on most of the trips, and allocation of places begins after a parent information evening held early in the academic year. Each trip involves some communal living and all are intended to enhance students' awareness and appreciation of the outdoors. The Grade 9 expeditions offer a variety of land, sea or mountain adventures.
The dedicated FIB expedition involves a six-day trip with FIB classmates to the Endau River in Malaysia, including kayaking and trekking.
The culminating outdoor education experience at UWCSEA is Project Week in Grade 11 when small groups of students plan their own trips that combine adventure and service, and they travel to a site in the region unaccompanied.