For the eight consecutive year, our Grade Seven Students embarked on the much anticipated cultural trip to Staffordshire. All the students look forward to the end of their Junior School years because of this experience.
The group visited several places of interest and the favourable weather very helped in making visits all the more enjoyable. Our first visit was surely a memorable one for the children. We visited Warwick Castle, the highlight of which was the Dungeons. At the castle we also saw a falconry display and some magnificent birds of prey. We also visited a reproduction of a Victorian weekend party in the Castle and the children commented on how much they enjoyed seeing what life was like in those days.
The second day was also very interesting. At Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace, we visited the house in which he was born, and the house where he lived with his family. An interesting thing we all learnt was that the people of the time slept in a sitting position as they were scared of the evil eye. For this reason the beds were made so small. Although the town is always full of tourists we decided to mingle with them to do a spot of shopping.
This being an educational trip we visited a Catholic School in Staffordshire where we joined in some singing rehearsals in preparation for their open day. Afterwards we walked to Stafford City centre and spent some time in the Soup Kitchen, a quaint tea-house close to the main square. In the afternoon we visited Chester, a city with lots of Roman remains. Here the children dressed up as Roman soldiers and marched around the city to an amphitheatre where the highlight for the children was the chopping off of Mr. Kenneth’s head!!!!!!
Cadbury World was a real hit with the children. The day started with a very interesting talk about the Aztecs. We then walked through a cocoa tree forest, where the history of how the cocoa bean arrived in Europe was told, then we watched an audio-visual show about the history of Cadbury. One of the highlights was a second audio visual show explaining how chocolate is made. Every time the film said the chocolate was shaken, our seats shook; when it said anything about steam treatment, our seats made wooshing sounds! They also got the chance to practice writing their names in chocolate and then went on a little train ride of Cadbury Bean land, an animated ride. They each have a souvenir photo of that ride and some had key chains or fridge magnets made with the photo on them. They got the chance to create the chocolate of their dreams, and of course to go shopping in the Cadbury shop.
That same evening we were off to Waterworld, an indoor water park where the children let off some steam and spent a good three hours enjoying all the rides.
The next day was the visit to Black Country Museum. The children learned much about what life was like a hundred years ago. They visited old shops where the assistants explained how different the goods they sold were from nowadays. They also visited an old sweet shop and learned how sweets used to be made and even bought Victorian sweets to try.
They went down a mine in hard hats and carrying torches which only gave a light equivalent to 1 candle. This enabled them to visualise how tough life was for kids their age who already had been working down the mines for years.
They had a ride on a canal boat and practised 'legging' the boat through the tunnels. It was fun for them to learn that just two of them could move a 30 tonne boat through the tunnel! For lunch they ate the old-fashioned fish and chips from the replica Victorian Chippy.
A visit to the Zoo on the last day was marvellous, and even those children who have been to a zoo before got the chance to see some very rare, endangered species. We walked miles round the zoo and I marvel at the sheer amount of energy the children have! With the flight back home quite late at night this was the ideal distraction and most of the children went to sleep as soon as they hit the plane’s seats.
Ms. Isabelle Depasquale.