Last week, all of the SMUS Grade 6 students took part in an array of team-building activities at Camp Pringle. The one-day event allows the new additions to Middle School to get to know each other outside the classroom and develop their collaborative skills.
“In the classroom, they do a lot of group work,” says Kim Tait, who accompanied the students on the trip. “Part of learning is learning to achieve something as a group as well as an individual.”
To develop these skills, the students played games that required them to organize themselves and strategize. One game required them to cross a field by stepping on five discs and never touching the grass. Students had to work out how all of their members could make it across without leaving their discs unattended.
Another had one student walking on a low rope. The student on the rope had to direct his or her team-mates on how to help them cross, instructing the group to sing or stay quiet, to huddle close or to give the student space.
Since academics can focus a lot on individual achievements, such as test scores or awards, team-building is important to show what groups can achieve. “The games teach kids to do a job as a team, not to focus on their individual goals,” explains Ms. Tait.
The trip is an annual event, but this year’s group stood out from previous ones. “With this group, they were helping their team-mates but they were also helping other teams,” says Ms. Tait.
At the end of the day, students were given time to reflect on what they had learned, and most centred their thoughts on the idea of leadership. “Most kids learned what a leader is,” says Ms. Tait. “They learned that leaders aren’t the people that push their own idea on the group, but the people that listen to the group and present an idea.”
To further enhance their team skills, the students will get to go on a similar two-day trip towards the end of the year.