Year 6 Head into the Wilderness for Bushcraft

Year 6 Head into the Wilderness for Bushcraft

At the start of June, a very excited Year 6 made the short coach journey to Penshurst Place where they – along with a select group of lucky teachers – would be spending the next three days fully embracing the wilderness and developing their outdoor skills…but mainly just having a lot of fun! As soon as we arrived at the site, the camp leaders made the children feel very welcome and it did not take long for the chanting and singing to begin…something that continued for the entirety of the trip. After splitting up into tribes and collecting wood, the children helped to make campfires, which were then used to cook freshly made burgers – a delicious lunch to get us started.

The afternoon was time for camouflage and concealment. After covering their faces (or the majority of their bodies in some cases) with naturally sourced camouflage made from the ashes of the fires, they were taught tactics to hide in and amongst the woodland areas and evade capture from each other. After applying a lot more camouflage paint, they then put the skills to practise in several evasion games. Children were then introduced to First Aid and what they might need to do to save someone’s life if injured out in the wilderness. Make sure you ask them about DR.ABS. A hearty dinner was followed by an evening activity of den and shelter building. The quality of these and how well they could withstand the elements (such as torrential rain) were fully put to the test. Children acted as estate agents to ‘sell’ the accommodations and then all went inside with jerry cans of water being thrown over the top. It turned out that none of them were fully waterproof! After a few more games around the campfire, it was time for bed.

Not a peep out of the children during the night and so they were up and ready to start the second day of the adventure raring to go. A full day of activities were planned which started with a cold morning dip in the natural pond. Children were advised to dip their feet in and then slide in, but some of them thought that ‘bombing’ was the best way to enter – brave children! A quick clean and it was time for lunch – homemade pizzas were on the menu and sliced up expertly by one of the resident tribe leaders. Plenty of different styles of how their pizzas were cut were on offer and the ‘Barbarian’ proved to be a very popular choice – a somewhat aggressive method!

After lunch, children were taught safe knife skills and used it to great effect, making tent pegs. Rope is an essential tool to have when out exploring the wild, but can take up valuable room, so children were taught how to make survival bracelets using paracords that can be worn around their wrists. The evening saw children practising and then performing ‘Tribe’s Got Talent’, which produced a whole host of skills we never knew the children had. The winning tribe’s representation of a ‘normal’ school day had us all laughing. Their impressions of the teachers were spot on, particularly Sai’s take on Mrs Flanagan! We finished the evening with s’mores and stories around the campfire before bedtime.

After a good night’s sleep and hot breakfast, it was time for the teacher’s acting skills to be put to the test. Disaster hit, with the teacher’s plane crash landing into the woods and with a SOS call from the tribe leaders, it was time for their first aid skills to be put to the test. Could they save their teachers? Who were they going to save first? Luckily, they didn’t panic and went straight to work, assessing the situation and successfully taking us away from danger and saving our lives! Before we left camp, there was time for just one more activity. They were treated to a demonstration of pannassing, a traditional way of cooking salmon, in which it was de-boned, butterflied and then would be cooked over an open fire for about four hours. The eyeballs were up for grabs and two very brave volunteers opted to get in a pre-lunch snack and try them! Apparently, they were not that bad, but I think we will just take their word for it. It didn’t put anyone off their lunch and so after a final meal, it was time to bid farewell to the Bushcraft adventure and our Year 6 residential. We returned tired and with bags of dirty washing, but most importantly…with plenty of stories to tell and some fantastic memories.

Well done Year 6!

Mr Snow



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