We have been blessed with gorgeous weather and a stunning location in which to enjoy it. As I write, the sounds of Jayden’s piano playing fill the room – we’ve had Never Gonna Give You Up, and the theme from Incanto – and a group of boys have been standing around him singing along! Earlier Lily regaled us, before moving over to the table football to play Thomas, Calum and Ella. Imogen and Ruby have been playing jenga and Ethan is calmly colouring. It’s all good fun – if a little loud for this time in the evening. It’s supposed to be ‘calm down’ time. At least they are all showered and the temperature is cooling down a little. Soon it will be time for teeth brushing and settling down to bed at the end of a very busy day.
And it’s been great. The Hilltop motto is Challenge By Choice and I think every child has felt challenged today and is proud of their achievements. For Ella and Imogen is was on the high ropes – and when you’re not a fan of being high up, they present a real challenge. Given three goes, they each pushed themselves to get further and further up the sloping beam. Similarly, Ethan says his proudest moment of the day was getting to the top of the sloping beam and coming back six steps along the beam above. Calum went even further, making it to the end of the second beam before going back to the middle so he could leap back off. For Thomas, Jayden and Kieran, who – it turns out – are absolutely fearless, the challenge was walking across the high wires holding onto the dangly ropes. Thomas even managed the leap of faith. At the end of the session, Jayden and Thomas climbed the ladder to the top, then the hand and foot holds on the side of the telegraph pole to the tiny platform at the top. Once there, they held onto each other’s hands and leaned back, trusting each other not to let go. Then, on the count of three, they let go, fell backwards and dangled in their harnesses back to the ground.
Meanwhile, Group 2 were learning about the Air Jump – a 4 meter high bag of air they had to launch themselves onto from various heights. All managed the first jump to the encouraging shouts from their friends and then kept returning for more and more attempts. If they wanted to, and if the instructor was happy with their technique (leap out, then land bum first with hands crossed across the chest like an Egyptian mummy), they were able to progress onto the higher levels. Ruby progressed to the 5m jump, and Aniek, Autumn, Lily, Shawn and Ivy onto the 7m jump and, at the end of the session, Bailey even managed the 8m jump. Well done all. Group 2’s afternoon ended with the assault course; a mad dash through tunnels, under cargo nets, over and under hurdles, through tyre racks and, finally, across the crocodile infested swamp. All survived without losing any fingers or toes and Shawn managed it, despite having grazed both knees and one elbow within 20 minutes of arriving here.
This evening, before the piano playing, the children enjoyed a big game of Mad Hatters – a giant game of manhunt with silly hats. Lexi, in a pause in the game, entertained Mrs Tooley and me with some of her favourite jokes, which I thought you might want to hear:
Why was the party on the Moon so awful?
Because there was no atmosphere.
How does the Moon cut his hair?
Why is dark spelt with a k not a c?
Because you can’t c in the dark!
So, I’ve just done my rounds and everyone is settled. After everything we’ve squeezed into the day, it’s no surprise they’re all ready for bed. But this is a Year 6 Residential first – for the first year ever, the children all took themselves off to bed before we announced it was bedtime! So, I think I’ll do the same.