The direct benefits for young children are similar to those experienced by older children and include the development of personal independence, self-confidence, co-operation and trust, risk management, self-respect and self-esteem.
These life skills are recognised to have a positive impact on children’s learning and development within educational programmes. Residential experiences are also recognised as having benefits to others, such as the child’s family, participating staff, the school or setting as a whole and the local community. The case for taking children on residential trips becomes even more compelling when we consider how many of the benefits have a positive impact on more than one group of stakeholders.
The audit tool Who Benefits? is designed to help you establish the benefits to your specific setting and its wider community. Click here to open a MS Word version of this worksheet, which you will be able to edit, save and print.
Once you have identified the potential benefits of residentials, it’s vital to promote these outcomes to the whole school or setting. Raising awareness within the stakeholder groups that will benefit will make it easier to gain support for your plans. The next section, ‘Getting Started’, includes ideas about communicating and working alongside families and the community.
Author and early years outdoor play expert Jan White discusses the benefits of taking children further afield in her book ‘Playing and Learning Outdoors’ and suggests that children have the opportunity to:
- find out what happens in the real world and interact directly with much more of its physical content, properties and behaviour
- be with each other in different circumstances, interacting and developing relationships with other children and adults.
Jan also points out that the concept of ‘slowliness’ – moving at the pace of the child – can be utilised to the full on trips and visits. ‘Slowliness’ should be embraced on residentials, as it allows children to explore their interests in depth and to absorb fascinating details without the pressure of the adult ‘timetable’ of the setting.
Read more about the benefits of learning beyond the classroom in the early years in this article on the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom’s website.