News

Year 3 Hilltop Residential Blog

08 May 2017

Day 1 -

40 very excited Year 3 children (and staff) arrived at Kew Green this morning ready to head to Hilltop for their first ever school residential! After waving goodbye to mums, dads, brothers and sisters, we set off and had a good journey, arriving in Norfolk just after lunchtime. We were welcomed to the centre by all of the staff, then the children headed to their rooms and began unpacking and choosing their beds for the week!

This afternoon, the children had a guided tour of the centre and had a look around some of the activities that they will be tackling over the course of the week. They then participated in some ice breaking and trust building challenges and games that were enjoyed by everyone and set the tone for the week; working as a team, encouraging each other, and remembering the motto of Hilltop…. “challenge by choice.”

A popular dinner of beefburgers, chips and salad was followed by an orienteering based game of famous faces, where the most enthusiastic participant running around finding all the clues was definitely Miss Cole!

The children have finished the day by changing into their pyjamas and being treated to a Year 3 Hilltop tradition; twenty minutes of story time, read to them by a different teacher every evening! Teeth are clean, faces are washed, and a peaceful night of sleep lays ahead I am sure…..!

Over and out from everyone at Hilltop!

 

Day 2 -

 

After a well deserved night’s sleep for everyone, Year 3 finally discovered that breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but the largest! A three course breakfast of toast,  a selection of cereals and finishing off with bacon, eggs and waffles. Following such a big meal, it was time to take on some of the days events, starting with the small zipper. Don’t let the name fool you, the small zipper is still a huge challenge. The children were so organised that they managed to have an extra go each, some daring enough to be blindfolded on their final zip! With the Big zipper only a day away, Year 3 have demonstrated they are more than ready for Hilltop’s main event.

 

The children approached the newly built agility course with fantastic teamwork. Working in pairs, they traversed the challenging obstacles, from rolling beams to rock climbing walls. Some parts of the course could only be completed by working together, and it was great to see children holding onto each other for physical and emotional support! 

 

Other groups had a chance to get back to nature with a bushcraft session, where we toasted marshmallows and drank delicious hot chocolate, which had been warmed around the fire they created. Each group were in competition to collect the most sticks to keep their fire going, and we were all trying to roast the ‘perfect marshmallow’. Sadly, no one really managed it, with a few more than a little burnt around the edges. This didn’t stop the children enthusiastically gobbling them up though! It may only be the second day, but all the teachers have been amazed at the children’s growing levels of independence. From mealtimes to bedtimes, they have organised themselves impeccably. 

 

After dinner, the children deserved a rare treat. Following a picturesque walk through Pretty Corner Woods, we had the chance to see the beautiful Sheringham coastline. If that wasn’t enough, a choice of 80 flavours of ice cream awaited them, including dairy and gluten free options! On the journey home, we even spotted a deer. What a day it has been! No doubt the children will be sleeping soundly after all their adventures.

 

Day 3 -

The morning began very quietly! So tired were the children from the previous day’s events, they relished the opportunity to enjoy a cosy lie in. Enthusiastic chatter quickly resumed with another delicious three course breakfast and, after a quick turnaround, the children were ready and raring to go!

The time had arrived to tackle one of the most exciting activities: The Big Zipper. This is a great chance to zoom over Hilltop, but involves real bravery in the initial jump off the platform, as the harness takes a split second to catch your weight. But were any of the children phased? Not today! It was extremely touching to hear some positive self-talk going on under the children’s breath…’I can do this!’ became one slightly nervous child’s refrain as she faced the challenge. But it was all with a huge smile, and followed by, ‘THAT WAS AWESOME!!!’. It was a view shared by all, and they were all very proud to have come down like super heroes, with the harness attached to their backs.

Archery followed: a slightly calmer activity that took plenty of skill and concentration. The children are constantly impressing us by putting their all into each challenge. It got competitive though when one natural born archer decided to pit themselves against a competitive teacher. Within minutes, the 8 year old had hit and popped a balloon (worth 50 points) and beaten the teacher (who had about 5 more turns than all the children!), and the whole group were extremely smug about the whole thing, leaving their teacher very red faced.

Today was a busy day. After lunch, it was time for the Power Fan, which is essentially a leap of faith off quite a height. Air resistance catches you in your harness, slowing your descent to the ground so that, if you have enough balance, you can just about land on your feet (though far more ended up on bottoms, much to their delight… ‘I LANDED ON MY BUTT!’ was one phrase of the afternoon). From the top, you can see over the whole activity centre so it is the jump off that really challenges you, as you are forced to go against your better instincts. Again though, the children more than rose to the challenge, and every one of them had the opportunity to get three goes as they just did it with no hesitation. One even sang, ‘I believe I can fly!’ at the top of their voice as they jumped off.

Tuck shop followed a delicious lasagne dinner, but hardly any of the children even chose to buy sweets as we are all ridiculously full from being fed so well here. Instead, it was touching to see them choosing gifts for loved ones at home. They are now all tucked up in bed and full of anticipation for the thrilling Super Swing tomorrow.

The morning began very quietly! So tired were the children from the previous day’s events, they relished the opportunity to enjoy a cosy lie in. Enthusiastic chatter quickly resumed with another delicious three course breakfast and, after a quick turnaround, the children were ready and raring to go!

The time had arrived to tackle one of the most exciting activities: The Big Zipper. This is a great chance to zoom over Hilltop, but involves real bravery in the initial jump off the platform, as the harness takes a split second to catch your weight. But were any of the children phased? Not today! It was extremely touching to hear some positive self-talk going on under the children’s breath…’I can do this!’ became one slightly nervous child’s refrain as she faced the challenge. But it was all with a huge smile, and followed by, ‘THAT WAS AWESOME!!!’. It was a view shared by all, and they were all very proud to have come down like super heroes, with the harness attached to their backs.

Archery followed: a slightly calmer activity that took plenty of skill and concentration. The children are constantly impressing us by putting their all into each challenge. It got competitive though when one natural born archer decided to pit themselves against a competitive teacher. Within minutes, the 8 year old had hit and popped a balloon (worth 50 points) and beaten the teacher (who had about 5 more turns than all the children!), and the whole group were extremely smug about the whole thing, leaving their teacher very red faced.

Today was a busy day. After lunch, it was time for the Power Fan, which is essentially a leap of faith off quite a height. Air resistance catches you in your harness, slowing your descent to the ground so that, if you have enough balance, you can just about land on your feet (though far more ended up on bottoms, much to their delight… ‘I LANDED ON MY BUTT!’ was one phrase of the afternoon). From the top, you can see over the whole activity centre so it is the jump off that really challenges you, as you are forced to go against your better instincts. Again though, the children more than rose to the challenge, and every one of them had the opportunity to get three goes as they just did it with no hesitation. One even sang, ‘I believe I can fly!’ at the top of their voice as they jumped off.

Tuck shop followed a delicious lasagne dinner, but hardly any of the children even chose to buy sweets as we are all ridiculously full from being fed so well here. Instead, it was touching to see them choosing gifts for loved ones at home. They are now all tucked up in bed and full of anticipation for the thrilling Super Swing tomorrow.

 

Day 4 - 

Our last full day was one filled with big activities! After yet another delicious three course breakfast the children waddled out to tackle two of the toughest challenges yet; the high ropes & the super swing.

After listening intently to the instructors, the children were to decide on two high ropes challenges to tackle. Most took the advice and started with something they felt comfortable with, while some daring children leaped straight off the devilishly high leap of faith. Everybody challenged themselves and achieved things they didn’t originally think they would be able to. A lot of balance and courage was needed to walk along the wobbly beams, while encouragement was shouted from spectators below. Once everyone had had their goes, some brave children chose to face the all-aboard: a high, rather wobbly, pole which the children climbed and dismounted in threes.

Lunch soon came around, and the children enjoyed a spaghetti feast to fuel their afternoon endeavours. With the afternoon came the most anticipated event of the week: The Super Swing! This is a daunting task that takes children to the tops of the trees, for a sudden drop, followed by an extending swinging action. Children stared in awe as they realised quite how high the top level is. After a quick safety briefing, we each chose the height we wanted to challenge ourselves to. Nerves were common but everybody did amazingly to overcome them, each pushing themselves to try heights they didn’t initially know if they could. As the mighty blue tennis ball was pulled, the seat plummeted and facial expressions (especially the teachers’) became spectacular. Everybody left exhilarated and proud of themselves.

After a large dinner, we all had a well-deserved relaxing evening. Teddies and pillows made their way into the TV room. As children snuggled up a treat of the Ice Age film was put onto the TV. Giggling ensued, mixed in with the odd bit of snoring from content, tired children. All went happily off to bed, both looking forward to being reunited with their families soon, and sad that their great adventure here at Hilltop is soon ending. 

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