Let children travel the world

Coming home tonight I saw this link in my Twitter timeline – Let children travel the world. Intriguing as that is, the origin of the story is none other than Sir Richard Branson!

One of our own worries is how our school will react to the request to take the boys out for an experience like no other. It’s not a holiday, it’s time to learn about the communities and countries we’d otherwise never see or never have time to join.

“I wholeheartedly support Janice Skelcher in her campaign to allow parents to take their kids on holiday during school term-time. It is really important that kids spend as much time travelling and learning as possible, from a young age.”

What wonderful words and sentiments, thank you Sir Richard!

Recent changes to the UK law now means parents can be fined or even imprisoned for taking children out of school during term time. Whilst the work of Janice, which prompted Sir Richard’s post on the Virgin website, seems an uphill struggle, I wholeheartedly support this – my wife and I are responsible adults and parents who want the very best for our children, and understand that school and academia can only give them some of what they need. The rest of that comes from us, the parents, and what is available ‘out there’ for us to use, to share, and to teach them. 

We go on days out and weekends away, but the time it takes to travel anywhere the costs involved limits where we can go. What about going further afield – not a holiday but an experience, an adventure, to see places and people (not necessarily the tourist traps the package holidays will take us to) and interact with it. I know, why not continue their education whilst we do this, not only their school work but also their education about the World? 

Reading books like Little House on the Prairie, what better way to follow it up by visiting the places and areas in the story? Visiting Amsterdam, read the Diary of Anne Frank and visit her home and museum. Learning about ice and gaciers in class, excellent introduction to the Austrian or Swiss Alps or even the Nowegian Fjords. Written a report for school on the balance of the oceans ecosystems, why not follow it up with an Eco-friendly dive on the Great Barrier Reef or even some volunteering time to help clean it up?

See, there are so many ways to bring classroom activities and books and ‘learning’ to life. I know I wish I’d had an opportunity like that (still do, actually)!

“Letting children travel provides the opportunity for families to spend quality time with each other, something I have always found invaluable with my own family. Some of my happiest memories are of childhood holidays – some during term-time, some not.

“If your holiday has to be in term-time, so be it – just ensure children get the chance to travel. They may well learn more than they ever could in a classroom.”

With a high profile name like Sir Richard Branson backing the sensible approach to education and the freedom to take children (responsibly) out of school, could effective and sensible change be a reality? Fingers crossed.

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