The British School in Tokyo (BST), in keeping with their philosophy that education should extend well beyond the four walls of the classroom, includes as part of their curriculum the school-wide BST Outdoors Programme. These ambitious residential trips develop skills and attributes students will use for the rest of their lives.
In February, several year groups enjoyed four-day excursions to various destinations in Japan, all contrasting with their daily life in Tokyo.
Secondary School students in Years 7–9 and 11 visited Hakuba, a ski resort in Nagano Prefecture. This trip included daily ski or snowboarding instruction for students of all ability levels, as well as a night skiing option for those in Year 11.
In the Primary School, Year 5 students travelled to Mount Norikura, on the border of Nagano and Gifu Prefectures. In addition to daily ski and snowboarding lessons, they enjoyed sledding and indoor wall climbing, and learned how to safely build a fire.
Year 10 students visited Saito, Miyazaki Prefecture. This was a home-stay trip on which groups of four or five stayed with Japanese families. They experienced many aspects of rural Japanese life, including cooking, crafting, sightseeing and cultural activities. As an agricultural community, this destination offered the chance to experience living and working in a farming environment while using their Japanese language skills.
These trips provide opportunities for personal growth and independence that would not be possible in the classroom. Working together in unfamiliar environments allows students to expand their personal limits while improving their teamwork, motivation and self-esteem. That they get to do it in these beautiful, unique locations is one of the many benefits of being located in Japan.