PY5 and PY6 Residential Trip to Les Hautes Alpes

Jennifer Wallace

From Monday 2nd to Friday 5th of May, 33 ICS Côte d'Azur students, accompanied by four members of staff, spent five days in the mountains for their residential trip. The purpose of the trip is to take learning beyond the classroom, so that students can spend time in the natural world exploring their environment. It's also a wonderful opportunity for them to grow in independence, as they learn to take care of themselves and others, be responsible roommates, and learn new routines with the programme coordinators. 

Monday

The students had a fantastic first day settling into their home for a week at La Pousterle. After the bus journey, they spent the afternoon examining skulls from mountain wildlife, and learning about the greenhouse effect and its impact on the future for our planet. As night fell, they explored the universe through a telescope with an astronomer, and finally, they embarked on an evening orientation race with flashlights.

School trip - classe verte

Tuesday

With a very sunny start to the morning, the students participated in a "lecture du paysage", where they took a small hike to a beautiful viewpoint to draw what they observed. They then learned about the different layers of vegetation found in the mountains. In the afternoon, they participated in an astronomy workshop, where students created models of the solar system in pairs, but left the project half finished, to be handed over to the next group. This was a great exercise for strengthening collaboration and trust skills.

Wednesday

Hike day! The students spent the day hiking into the National Park of the Écrins, where they saw a stunning landscape with snow capped mountains. They got the chance to see chamois (a kind of mountain goat) and lots of marmots! They also learnt how mountains form and about different kinds of rocks. Challenged by rain and hail, students put their outdoor learning skills to the test as they learned to erect a weatherproof shelter.  Back home safely at the centre,there was hot chocolate, tartiflette and a storytelling competition.

School trip - classe verte

Thursday

In the morning, students shopped for souvenirs in the local village, followed by a nature and agriculture walk looking at how people use the land to live. In the evening everybody participated in the traditional 'Boum' (party), there were some fantastic performances!

Friday

There was lots of sunshine for the final morning at the La Pousterle centre! After packing their bags and cleaning their room, the student’s last activity of the week was all about ecosystems. Everybody walked to the riverbed of the local river called the Drac, where students foraged for natural materials to create their own ecosystems. With the use of clay, they created organisms that would be found in that ecosystem - a very creative and thoughtful exercise. Then it was time to eat their last lunch and say goodbye.

After two years of limited trips and opportunities due to COVID, all the students and teachers were grateful to be out in nature once again, and it was especially poignant for the PY6 students, who will soon be moving on to secondary school.
Our Head of School, Amanda Scott says: "The tradition of the residential trip or ‘classe verte’ is a strong one at our school and I was proud to witness how positively our students took on those challenges that characterise any first school trip away from home. As IB PYP students, they were given opportunities to demonstrate the qualities of the learner profile in multiple ways. So well done to our caring and knowledgeable risk-takers and inquirers. We are truly open-minded and balanced learners!"