Watching the spider spin its web, getting covered in mud on a long hike, a picnic under a tall tree…when you recall childhood memories, what is it that you remember? Most likely in top memories at least one experience took place in an outside setting. Why do we remember those times? Why do they stay as part of our personal story? The school trip, the camp, the family gathering, often it is these outdoor experiences that are special for us.
Humans are part of the natural world. As much as we dress ourselves in manufactured garments, surround ourselves with technology and eat barely recognizable processed foods, we are part of natural cycles so it is not surprising that for many, time outside reconnects us to the natural rhythms, refreshing, calming and energizing.
Research is finding that many children are developing skills such as spatial awareness and fine motor skills more slowing than in previous generations. This is being attributed to the reduction in free play out of doors, when children naturally move over bumpy surfaces and are constantly adjusting their vision to look at things up close and then far away. When compared to viewing a screen at a fairly fixed distance from your eyes, it is not surprising that outdoor play provides a much richer arena for development.
Outdoor Activities Spark Curiosity
Curiosity is one of the key values that life long learners possess. While classroom provocations may be designed to spark curiosity, activities outdoors immerse students in such a rich environment that students are wondering and discovering without really realizing it. Why does the paddleboard float? How come all of the ants are not the same? Why does the fire smoke with that wood but not this wood? Rich outdoor experiences offer students first hand experiences which they may recall in the future when they learn the theory of physics or the details of biology. Experience becomes part of who the child is, setting them up to understand and unpack concepts at a later date.
Outdoor Activities Provide Authentic Learning
To stay happily in a tent and cook your breakfast involves all sorts of problem solving and life skills to be practiced in a very natural way. Students are exposed to different risks learning independence and resilience as they navigate them safely leading to more self-confidence. And then there are the social benefits of time spent outdoors with others. Learning to lead and to follow, to share ideas and to listen to others, to deal with natural conflicts and to collaborate to complete the goal. While these social skills are not unique to the outdoors, the space that the outdoors provides and the calm of green leaves and plants makes a very conducive setting to develop these interactions.
What will your children remember of their childhood? Will marshmallows around the campfire under a starry sky, kayaking over a reservoir and catching insects be part of their growing up story? Will their Bangkok city lives regularly be enriched and balanced by time in the out of doors, re connecting to the natural world? And will they have cultivated the art of curiosity and love of the outdoors as young people, so that they want to continue to include natural spaces long into their adult lives?
Traidhos Barge Programme
Traidhos Barge Program works with international schools in Thailand to help students to wonder, learn and feel safe in the outdoors. Throughout the year, Traidhos Barge Program offers family, day camp and adult opportunities for individuals and groups to participate in some of the programs. In Chiang Mai, Traidhos Camps Program provides holiday programs and residential camps during most school holiday periods. These programs encourage students to explore outside and develop scientific skills as they investigate the world around them, and embrace the outdoors through activities on our educational farm, using local wisdom for craft work, though cooking and through play.
The spacious and green campus is partly shared with Prem Tinsulanonda International School, but the camp program is independent of the school. Campers can enjoy facilities such as a large swimming pool, climbing wall, low ropes course, cycle paths, team-buidling areas, tennis and golf facilities as well as craft spaces. Depending upon the camp, students live in a purpose built bunk house, with bunk beds arranged in a dorm room, common area and rooms for supervising camp counsellors, or in small two-room apartments where each room sleeps 3 to 4 students. Campers eat at the on-campus cafeteria, which serves a variety of Thai, western and vegetarian foods.
The Traidhos Camp Program operates year round, with open camps during each of the major holiday periods: April, June to August and October. Activity Camps are sold in packages of one week, but it is possible to join for multiple weeks. Customised camps, including family camp for parents and younger children, may be requested at other times.
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