3 reasons to have a ''back-to-school'' activity day for your new pupils
Many schools we work with run activities days during the summer term to reward the pupils for their hard work throughout the year. The last few weeks of the summer term are always jam-packed for us and are often booked well in advance by returning customers. This can make it tricky for us to fit in late bookings for summer term events, though we always try our absolute best to make something work for your school.
An increasingly popular option is to also have a “back-to-school” activity day to welcome new and returning students to the school. One of our regular clients, Dauntseys School, has run this type of event for a few years now with much success. You can find out more about their event at our blog here. Every September we head up to Dauntsey’s and set up a large selection of activity stations. We run the event in a relaxed style so the pupils can do the activities at their own pace and have time to chat with new friends in between stations. The whole day is really fun and helps to relax the new pupils into their new school environment.
We also have events over the summer holidays for schools that run “ice-breaker events” where new pupils are introduced to their classmates before the school term starts in September. We normally have much more availability and flexibility for arranging events in August and September due to the lower demand.
Of all the life skills that a school can help a student to develop, teamwork must be one of the most important. Creating teams in a classroom environment can feel forced for those pupils who struggle to integrate into a new team. So, by taking pupils out of the classroom and into a fun outdoor environment, you can remove some of the pressure associated with developing team-building skills. This allows pupils to naturally develop their teamwork skills and create new teams with their new classmates.
Children working together and solving problems in a different environment can help them to develop key learning behaviours that bring benefits to them in the classroom, outside the classroom and in everyday life. Children can become more resilient and learn not to give up when they come across barriers to learning; they can become more resourceful, creative and reflective while also developing their social and emotional skills by being good communicators.
Team-building activities can provide a level playing field for children who might struggle in a classroom environment. Being able to learn through being active, creative and solving problems can often bring out the best in children who struggle academically or have behavioural issues, which can help to raise their self-esteem and confidence. These activities enable children who don't class themselves as sporty or perhaps don't like P.E. to excel. They may not be the quickest or strongest but are often more thoughtful, reflective and better communicators.
For returning pupils, this environment also offers an ideal situation to reconnect with their peers and strengthen their interpersonal bonds. By establishing good team-building skills and creating engaged teams of pupils early in the year, you will be setting your pupils up for success throughout the rest of the academic year.
Creating new relationships
Another important skill is the ability to create interpersonal relationships with new peers. This is a skill that is important both in their personal life but also throughout their professional life. During their career, it is likely most of your pupils will need to complete networking in a professional setting. Offering opportunities for pupils to improve these skills and develop more confidence meeting new people is hugely beneficial.
The relaxed environment offered by our events is the perfect setting for students to develop these skills improving their emotional intelligence and self-esteem. These skills are particularly important for encouraging diversity and integration within schools. Depending on where pupils have come from, such as those from small rural communities, they may have limited experience meeting people from other backgrounds. This could lead to pupils lacking confidence when making friends with pupils from other backgrounds. By breaking down these barriers in a relaxed environment early in the school year, you create an ideal setting for all your pupils to thrive moving forward.
Ice-breaking for new boarders
Many of the schools we work with offer the option to board, either part time or full time. For pupils moving up from primary school, this is likely to be a new experience that may be very daunting. Staying away from home in a strange place with new people can be a shock to the system for some students, particularly those who are shy or struggle in new social settings.
A back-to-school event can help ease pupils into their new life at boarding school, allowing them to develop new friendships as soon as possible while also learning about their new home. A relaxed and fun environment is the ideal setting to introduce new pupils to their dorm mates and start the process of integrating new pupils into the boarding school lifestyle.