The adventure begins - A very long time ago.
Arriving at Escot on Tuesday morning children were immediately whisked back in time to the Iron age. Escot’s ‘Saxon Village’ regressed to pre-Roman times and the children quickly set about their tasks. Flour had to be made for the lunchtime bread.
Before the dough could be made.
Meanwhile the blacksmiths were busy at work in the forge making a penannular broach to keep their cloaks on. Hot, sweaty, tiring work, but carried out tirelessly.
Meanwhile, there was work to be done to keep the village in good order, so children were working the pole lathes in the carpenter’s area.
And wattle and daub was needed to repair the hut walls.
Most of the children worked hard for the village, but those who didn’t were treated harshly.
While all this was happening other children were in the forest busily foraging for wild berries and leaves for dinner. Children also kept a look out for the ancient animals of the forest and a wolves, wild boar and a pair of lynx were spotted in the undergrowth. Children also came across a ‘drop slide’ that appeared through a mysterious portal from the future.
The Iron Age Village
After the historical adventure it was back to modern times for a spaghetti cook up for supper and a communal effort with the washing up. The historical theme was maintained with the adults having a well earned rest as the chores were done by the children!
After supper some time by the camp fire was enjoyed by all, singing songs and toasting marsh mellows as the sun started to go down. Once darkness had descended Mr Hunt dragged everyone from their comfortable dozing, insisting that everyone joined him for a a night walk to listen out for bats and other nocturnal creatures.
Finally, after a 45 minute walk, a final hot chocolate and bedtime story, it was off to bed and eventually everyone was asleep (under strict instructions not to wake Mr Hunt before 7am).
Day two began bright and early. Despite being a little bleary eyed, anticipation was rising for the much discussed ‘swamp walk’. Unfortunately, the weather was not at its best, but everyone soldiered on regardless.
The morning started with a trip to the maze.
And difficult as it was, everyone made it out in the end.
Once completed another hunt was on as children scoured the wetlands for various invertebrates, both in water and on land.
Although a goodly selection of animals was found, no-one seemed too keen with the idea of a bug lunch, so it was back to camp for sandwiches.
Lunch was swiftly followed by changing into our swamp walk clothes and the anticipation continued to rise. However, first everyone had to improve their survival skills so it was off to the woods to build shelters and learn how to start a fire in case we didn’t manage to get out before nightfall.
The Swamp Walk
The moment had finally arrived and, with a final war cry, Mr Hunt lead the children into the swamp
The water level was high and the mud was sticky, but the children battled through. The swamp ranged from knee depth and very narrow to waist deep and meters wide. Children battled on regardless. With the some encouragement, and the odd short piggy back ride, they pushed on to the end.
The final challenge was a waist deep mud pool which required children to drag themselves through it with a rope, but succeed they did. There was much joy as they everyone washed themselves down in the clear waters of a nearby pond and they hiked back to camp and into their warm clean clothes.
The mud monsters of the swamp
A final word
It was a privilege to spend time with all the year 4 children at Escot this year. Each and every child worked hard as part of a team and so many of them overcame fears and worries to succeed. Drop slides were conquered, swamps were vanquished and many little faces went for anxious to delighted in so many little moments.
As a whole group the children’s behaviour was exemplary, gaining a special mention from the Escot staff.
As a teacher I think that undertaking this trip so early in the year has given me a greater insight into the character of the children as well as memories to discuss and enjoy for the rest of the year.