It would take a very long list of experiences and outcomes from the Scottish curriculum to note everything that a standard Monday to Friday programme at Ardentinny can touch upon. But a few of them will always be present in our courses.
We visit schools in preparation for their outing to the centre and we will be very happy to partner teacher and pupils in pursuing particular goals for their Ardentinny trip.
But no matter whatever other aims and priorities teachers have for their pupils while at the centre, all children and young people specifically:
- Develop skills and strategies which support them in challenging times (HWB 2-07a)
- Experience enjoyment and a high level of personal achievement on a daily basis by taking part in different kinds of energetic physical activities which they have chosen to do (HWB 2-25a)
- Carry out different activities and roles in unfamiliar settings (HWB 2-19a)
- Take opportunities to make friends and be part of a group in a range of situations (HWB 2-14a)
What happens that advances theses curriculum outcomes?
It all starts with packing a bag with everything needed for 4 nights at Ardentinny and setting off to an unknown destination on the Monday. At the centre, more new situations have to be mastered: sharing a dormitory, using boot rooms and drying rooms for that day’s wet gear, making packed lunches, and taking part in the tidy-up procedures are all part of the daily routines at the centre. And then the activities offer a whole other set of challenging situations: staying calm and in control, looking after themselves and their year buddies and sharing the uncertainties, as well as being bold and trusting in themselves and in their classmates. In the end, they will be able to celebrate their successes in overcoming self-doubts and uncertainties!
These experiences all go to help equip children and young people with the personal skills and the attitudes that managing change and thriving in challenging times call upon.
Sometimes it’s topping out at the end of a rock-climb or a big hill walk; sometimes it’s the race to complete an orienteering course ahead of a previous best times. Perhaps it’s stepping up for a turn on the big rope swing or handling the loaded ropes at the crate stack. We don’t promote Ardentinny as suitable only for sporty people, we don’t even focus much on the physicality of what we do in any of the activities, but there is absolutely no doubt that, whatever limits the individuals set for themselves, the outdoor activity programme establishes new high levels of physical achievement and personal satisfaction.
From becoming a leader in the problem-solving games and puzzles which are an embedded feature of every programme at the centre, to taking on the role of equipment helper, rope course spotter or group spokesperson, there are many opportunities to take on new roles or volunteer to help staff leaders and teacher at the centre in ways the school environment cannot provide.
New friendships are always forged in the common experiences and challenges of the activities at the centre, be it in the dormitory or activity groups, or in association with pupils from other schools. Groups are usually best when made up of pupils form the different schools visiting, and we certainly recommend this. These groups therefore offer many opportunities to get to know new people. The friendships and collaborations can even begin long before the visit to the centre by using schools’ intranet connections, and the personal friendships are often maintained long after the visit to the centre is over.