The children left Norfolk Lakes at 1.20pm

Norfolk Lakes Ms S

FRIDAY

Well, the last day has arrived and the children do look a bit tired and some are losing their voices. But what a week it has been. We have been in the very privileged position of seeing your children develop new skills, conquer their fears and excel in new activities that are beyond our remit in the classroom ... and enjoy the simple things in life- the outdoors and each other. 

Just two sessions today and a hearty lunch to finish. All rooms are tidied and cleared with only one rogue pair of socks left in the boys' section. Another good sleep last night for the boys who, after the first night, have been a dream to be with.

Report from Emily Be, who is in the teacher's lounge with Ms S because caving is far too claustrophobic!

Here in Norfolk, it is really fun, although you get a little bit wet and muddy. I never want to leave because the rooms are really nice and the areas are huge! There are around about six lakes! I didn't really enjoy sailing, it was really windy -  I nearly fell off! I think this trip has brought me closer to my friends and I realise life isn't about sitting behind a mobile device! It's about looking at the world around you. This place is amazing and think everyone here would say that too. We had fun coming up with nicknames for the instructors. I will miss this place very much, I have had some very good experiences but I must say goodbye; I will never forget this place.

Emily

THURSDAY

Morning all. The boys were great again last night and slept from about 9.45pm through til 6.30am. Ms Sterling did a little push on the tidiness front: wet towels, wet shoes, dirty pants and sweet wrappers being the main culprits. Dylan had an effective method of keeping his bits together - pile them in a big circle in the middle of the floor, which is surprisingly effective, as he knew exactly where everything was! Kobe found cola bottles in his sleeping bag ... and ate them...! So, just to warn parents: luggage may be a bit interesting when we arrive home! 

Today we are on land and Mrs Fitz and Ms Sterling are swapping activity groups so that we can see different children in action. We're looking forward to the blind trail and archery.

 

Mrs F reporting on Ms Sterling's group. 

We had a beautiful walk around the lake to a deserted island where we had crash landed in a plane! The two teams set to work with Caleb and Bo leading the way to make shelters and SOS signs. All the group were able to make a spark in order to light the fire and the shelters provided shelves, protection and thanks to Ayla, were very tidy! 

Next session was archery. Once we were taught how to release the arrows we played a game and depending where the arrow landed, resulted in our living arrangements. We had several people living in cardboard boxes although Jake had the luxury of a caravan with Ella in a tent. In the final game, Jake and Luke were the ones to beat with 14 points each and amazingly Mrs F (who had not hit the target all morning) finished with a bulls eye!

Lovely lunch of pizza, burger or the biggest hot dog in the world.

Afternoon session was the blind trail. Ella G, Maddie, Bo and Emily giggled the entire way around the blind trail and the others gave good instructions to their partner.  

Next up was rifle shooting. The boys regained their glory and were high scorers and Katie didn't miss a shot. Evie G and Jacob were unaware of which way to point the rifle at times and had us all with our hands up! Jake and Luke had great technique and I can see them in the next Bond movie! Libby and Bo could be their side kicks. 

WEDNESDAY

Morning everyone! Ms Sterling got 8 1/2 hours sleep last night - the boys were tired but also understanding of the fact that we all need sleep (plus if they're good, we'll organise for the tuck shop to open on Thursday). Last night, the children climbed up a large wall and some got to the very top; all achieved a good height. This final activity followed a visit to the tuck shop. Here copious amount of sugar was purchased but the feedback from the staff was that the children were very polite, many 'please' and 'thank you' s and the boys were letting the girls go first. We've had some lovely comments about the children's behaviour. 

Today another school arrives. We've been very lucky to have the site to ourselves up to now. ☺️

WEDNESDAY pm

Well what a day the children have had. They have really been tested to the limit and beyond their comfort zones. First of all, rafting, which Luke declared was his favourite session so far. The children had to put their trust in each other and in the barrels that were keeping them afloat. Once they were pushed into the water they were left to fend for themselves with four paddles. The wind didn't help and it pushed them into over hanging branches most of the time. Emily Be accepted the challenge of jumping up and down on the raft, much to the displeasure of the other children. 

Next was sailing. Ms Sterling had a lovely time; others were not so confident so she took them for a pootle around the lake. Quote of the day from Cerys: 'Ms Sterling, the wind is not co-operating!' She was right, it kept changing direction and it was gusting. But the lake is beautiful - what a place to sail in with moorhen, coot, swans, mallard, Canada geese, grebe and heron all visible from the sailing point. Absolute natural sailor of the day was Bo, who had never sailed before much to our amazement. Everyone had two sessions on the lake and enjoyed it more the second time- some of the sails were reefed to slow the boats down and the instructors did an amazing job at getting everyone out on the open water for at least an hour. 

WEDNESDAY eve

Fencing to end. Not a massively popular session, mainly because of the masks you have to wear which made a couple of them feel peculiar.  Jake whizzed back and forth and outshined the instructor, but then he is first in Suffolk for his age. 

The other school has joined us and this has meant a few adjustments such as accepting that one of the options for supper will run out before we get there. 

We've also had a couple of people feeling homesick, but this usually co-incides with an activity where they are about to be pushed beyond their comfort zones. The feeling soon passes. Once again, we've been impressed with the quality of instruction and the care given to the children (and staff).

TUESDAY

Well, Ms Sterling survived the first night. Kobe's dorm was super quiet all night, once I threatened to remove all food and sweets. All children were asleep by 10.30pm. The other dorm, above Ms Sterling's room, played a game of musical sleeping bags for two hours in the early morning. The kids have now witnessed their teacher at her very best.

We have just had a protein-laden breakfast that will set up us all for a whole day on the Lakes: paddle boarding and canoeing. 

Later, we will use Mollie's laptop to upload pictures because she is having a much more successful time using the wifi. 

We've had a busy day on the water and we have seen some children really overcome their fears. Credit to Caleb who capsized and found himself underneath a canoe but then returned to the boat to continue. Also amazing to see was Bo, who CHOSE to be in a capsizing boat with Kobe and Luke, fall into the lake and then undertake a re-boarding manoeuvre that involved rolling gracefully back on. Katie was not sure at all, but was up for spending time in the instructor's canoe, sitting in the hull and enjoying the sights such as the Canada geese, ducks and swans - all she needed was a cornetto in her hand! Everyone got wet and cold but the sun shone for us all day. 

Paddle boarding was today's water-sport favourite, and with a record 'accidental' 20 falling-ins, Kobe wins the 'wettest' award. All of us had a go - Mrs F and Mollie had fancy wet suits - but Ms Sterling decided jeans and walking boots was enough; needless to say they are in the drying room. You can tell who the water babies are - there was nothing stopping Libby and Evie today as they whizzed on their attire, boarded and stood up, gracefully making their way around the lake. Emily Be had a less orthodox approach: she straddled the board, floated down the lake with the wind and fell in. She smiled ALL day!

For our very first session, we traversed the obstacle course. It went well. Jacob hurt his knee and felt he couldn't carry on, only to whizz over the a frame and netting like a soldier. The girls were amazing, and everyone helped each other, regardless. Maddie was not sure at all, but was expertly assisted by a senior instructor. All of the staff here are very good with the children and get the best from them.

MONDAY

 

We're here, first activity done: Low ropes. Good to hear the children encourage each other and needing less support as time went on. We traversed walls, tyres and logs and found that grip strength is a must! 

Next 7pm: Manor olympics inside the main hall. I think it's meant to be quite loud and very active, ready for a good sleep. 

 

Tea was good! Choice of beef, gammon, chicken or mushroom stroganoff. 

The staff are great, the accommation is very good and the children are very excited- hopefully they'll settle tonight but at the moment, even the doorbells on the apartments are exciting!