Children expand cultural capital in lockdownPosted: 27th January 2021
Children are enjoying expanding their cultural capital during lockdown - by visiting the Great Wall of China, scuba diving in California and watching a production on the Disney Cruise Liner.
While the country is in lockdown, students at Epping St John’s Church of England School are finding ways to tour the world without leaving their homes.
A virtual trips programme has been launched, offering students the opportunity to pick from a varied list of 50 visits they can complete online.
The list includes opportunities to –
- explore the ice caves of Austria
- see the polar bears of Canada and explore their habitat, before and after climate change
- get a close-up of the crown jewels on a virtual tour of the Tower of London
- use web cams to explore the Lake District
- visit the world’s largest museum, Louvre in Paris
- take a virtual tour of Sydney Olympic Park
- watch a live streaming of Cirque du Soleil
Students are encouraged to take as many tours as possible while restrictions are in place preventing school trips.
Alex Boudakian, Year 7, has visited Arsenal Stadium, the White House and Chester Zoo, gone scuba diving in Southern California and watched the Disney production Tangled during lockdown.
He said: “Tangled was my favourite because the songs were very uplifting and the set was amazing. It was also good because I watched it with my family and it brought back good memories from before Covid-19 when we could all go to the theatre and cinema.
“It has been good to see different places around the world and to see things up close, but it has made me miss doing these things and going on holiday. It would be great to do these trips in person.”
Sarah Viccars, assistant headteacher, said: “Back in March, we had to cancel 12 trips due to the pandemic. As a school, we always have a packed calendar of trips for our students to take part in. Lockdown has meant our young people are missing out on so much culture. Yes, they are completing lessons and following the curriculum, plus we have expanded on that with our virtual enrichment clubs. But, they are missing out on the cultural capital they would usually gain on school trips. They have been without that now for nearly a year.
“In the spirit of trying to keep things positive and encouraging families to do things together at home, we have launched our virtual school trip programme.
“There is something for everyone.”
After every trip, students complete a review to feedback what they have gained from the experience.
Many are finding they are gaining more from the virtual experiences.
Miss Viccars said: “Going to the White House virtually, for example, was better for them remotely as they found they were not as restricted, they didn’t have to deal with crowds or go through security. They could also go back to bits they particularly liked or missed and do it all at their own pace. They are linking up on FaceTime and taking the trips with their friends, which is great.
“Remote learning is tough for students and for teachers. This enables us to offer something different in class, too. When teaching the Tempest to Year 7 for two hours, that is a full-on lesson, whether in class or remotely. It is great to be able to say to the class ‘let’s go for a tour of The Globe’ to support that learning.
“Some of these actual trips could not happen if we wanted them to, even without the pandemic. We would never be able to take students scuba diving in California or hiking in the Lake District. This lets them go one step further, like going into an animal enclosure at Chester Zoo. In that respect, some of these trips are better than we would normally be able to offer them face to face. I think the way trips work will completely change going forward, with physical trips supported with these unique virtual experiences.
“I want students to expand their knowledge, to be more aware and have more understanding. I want them to see the bigger picture and to realise there is more to life than what is going on around them in Epping. It is also a good opportunity for them to realise everyone around the world is affected by the pandemic, just like they are – the very reason most of these virtual trips are available now is because these places are closed to visitors.
“It is an opportunity to broaden their horizons beyond the curriculum. We are trying to find solutions to all the things the pandemic has taken away.”
Students receive ACE points for each trip they complete, which can be spent on treats at the end of the year.