St Thomas More Catholic

Primary School

Christ is the centre of our School community, where we live, love and learn together

Year 6 Residential Visit to Alton Castle

September 2010

As part of their continuing faith journey, the children in Year 6 take part in a residential activity at the Diocesan Youth Retreat Centre at Alton Castle in Staffordshire. The centre offers the children the opportunity of taking part in some really exciting outdoor activities whilst considering their spiritual impact too.

We arrived at the Castle on a chilly Wednesday morning and were all excited to be taking part in a day retreat. This was a day for the children to take part in exciting activities that encouraged the whole group to get involved and work together as a team to solve problems. One of the children's favourite activities was a blindfolded walk, where the children had to learn to trust a partner when their gift of sight was taken away by the blindfold. Our theme was 'Journeys', and each fun activity gave the children a chance to reflect on the days theme. The children took time to consider what they had achieved so far in their lives and reflected positively on where their life journey was going to take them.

After the retreat, the children were eager to get to their rooms (which were at the top of long spiral staircases!) and have some free time. They were all very excited to be staying at the Castle.

The friendly staff led the children in night time activities after dinner which ranged from astronomy to meditations. It really was a fun and thought provoking day.

Over the next two days, the children had the opportunity to take part in three activities each. Rock Climbing was very exciting, and the children again had to learn to trust their friends as they protected them and helped them to climb an indoor rock face. Other activities included Biking, Trekking and Archery.

Each night, the children took part in night prayer; rooms were set to be peaceful and calm, with candles burning and quiet music playing. All the children were involved and eager to take part praying for their own families, friends and concerns.

To end the trip we all took part in a beautiful Mass which we had learnt new hymns for. The Mass was the culmination of a wonderful few days where everyone involved had been touched, in some way, by the events which took place at the castle. Our trip was a real success, and we are now putting our improved team work skills to use in school.