With the exciting news of students returning to schools, border restrictions easing, and the availability of vaccines, comes the excitement of planning travel for children again. With the correct documents in order, schools and parents have a wide variety of destinations to choose from – whether it be domestically in their own countries, or on an international trip abroad.
Group travel aids in developing the whole child, regardless of whether it is a sightseeing tour (cultural / historic) or a competitive tournament (academic / sport). Even a simple skills-based day trip, within close proximity of the school, can be a learning experience for a child.
Here are some benefits to keep in mind, as you consider and plan your child or students’ next field trip:
During sport and play in groups, it is inevitable that children will bond with each other. Children seek out friends who they are compatible with, and form friendships which work as support structures – some of these friendships lasting lifetimes.
With the right guidance from parents, teachers and coaches, children can become team players. Collaboration is a necessary skill that must be harnessed from a young age if one is to function successfully in any job as an adult. Teamwork involves compromise, open-mindedness, support, communication and leadership. Teamwork teaches children to value others, to settle differences respectfully, and to work together peacefully.
It goes without saying that travel plans don’t always go according to plan. There’s bound to be a hiccup or two along the way. Kids on tour can develop problem-solving skills by encountering new challenges, which fall outside their comfort zones. Travel delays, lost baggage and flight cancellations can all be used to teach patience and perseverance.
During tours, kids sometimes fall ill or get injured – these setbacks are opportunities for kids to develop compassion for others, and make personal sacrifices to help others. It also brings out their courage and independence away from mum and dad.
Exploration and Adventure
You’re never too young to start ticking off places on your bucket list. What fun is childhood if you are not exploring and going on adventures? The thrill, excitement and intrigue – to see new places, taste different food, and listen to foreign languages! Need I say more? Exercise, sunlight and nature all boost wellbeing.
As a global village, different cultures interact and communicate daily. Acceptance is of utmost importance if kids are to grow up as respectful global citizens. Seeing beyond nationality, race, gender, sexuality, and religion happens through exposure to different lifestyles. In a trauma-filled world, we need kids to understand cultural differences without forming prejudices. Travel is a means of crossing these cultural barriers and blurring the lines that divide. Encountering someone from a different culture, opens up a whole new perspective on life.
The more kids experience the world, the greater their awareness will become. Their observations of hunger, poverty, pollution and inequality will sharpen. Being aware is the first step to making a difference. We could raise kids who go out and make positive contributions towards improving the world.
It’s not all fun and games on tours. There are personal challenges which one must face. Homesickness, culture shock, budgeting money, feeling left out of groups, or traveling for long hours with little sleep, are just a few examples of the challenges. These challenges bring kids to a place of self-awareness, where they can get to know themselves better – to discover their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. They will become acquainted with their own personality, identity and beliefs. To know oneself is a lifelong asset. Also, as kids experience accomplishments on tour or as they overcome setbacks, their confidence soars. This in turn develops a sense of self-love and self-worth, which again will benefit them later on in life as adults.
Life Experience and Memories
Every experience on tour – good or bad – will ultimately benefit a child who has the opportunity to travel. As said by Julius Caesar, “Experience is our best teacher.” And at the end of it all, the fun-filled memories will last a lifetime.