The Travel and Learn Programme is designed around 4 key areas of development that are critical in helping all participants, including those with special needs, become more independent and develop confidence.
The trips are designed to be challenging and to encourage independence. With support, the students learn to look after themselves from packing to personal hygiene, dressing for different environments to shopping and preparing food. All sorts of regular life activities are set in ever changing and challenging environments, such as a canoeing on the Amazon to a tenting on a Canadian glacial lake. These challenging environments highlight the importance of these routine tasks and provide a sense of fun and excitement.
The trips are all based on the same model of small, intimate mixed groups of adults and children of all ages of a wide variety of nationalities. Different forms of social interaction, some in different languages, are encouraged and developed throughout the trips. Accommodation and dining arrangements are constantly changed in order to foster a variety of appropriate social interactions. The groups become close over the duration of the trip and the participants are often surprised at how their expectations of others are transformed ….and also at the sense of loss in parting at the end of the trip.
All trips have a primary focus on environmental literacy, understanding the magnificence, diversity and importance of the natural world and its vulnerability to human mismanagement. Exciting and beautiful destinations are chosen in order to reinforce an appreciation of the natural world and instruction takes place coherently throughout the trip. The fundamental pedagogic principle is in learning in ‘classrooms without walls’ – a process which appears natural and unforced. A range of skills are developed according to a student's own individual abilities but set within a group context. Adults are also involved and are often surprised at how much they learn and how interesting the topics are.
Interwoven with the more academic focus of the Environmental Literacy Programme are a wide range of physical activities. The days fly by as participants are introduced to one activity after another. These activities always include something exciting that challenge and excites the whole group; maybe ziplining through the tropical rainforest canopy in Costa Rica, hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro, scuba diving with sharks in the Galapagos or perhaps white-water rafting down the Zambesi. These ‘headline’ activities are set amongst constant walks, cycle rides, swims and climbs that leave the group exhilarated and exhausted each evening.
All the above activities have one primary goal, this is to build CONFIDENCE – and, as far as possible, to make it FUN!