Finland Expedition 2017
Our Lapland expedition, named the Inari project, was undertaken in hopes to raise the aspirations of young people from deprived areas by combining workshops with outdoor learning. The expedition to Lapland was designed to help young children develop the skills and confidence in themselves to continue with their learning and professional development in the future, removing the social stigma surrounded with deprived areas. We hope to break the negative cycle in poverty stricken areas by continuing this project in future years to give as many children as possible an equal opportunity in their education.
The aim of this project was to raise the aspirations of children who live in socially deprived areas. When starting this project, the children who were selected by the teachers all came from unique and difficult backgrounds. A majority of the children lacked confidence, whether in engaging with others to trying new foods, they were closed off and quiet and some never having been on a plane, seen snow or been away from their family.
There journey first begun as a collective group of their whole school year, being able to visit Dartmoor Zoo which many children had not had a chance to do before. This allowed the whole year to meet there first ever arctic animal and get excited for the selected few that were going.
As members of ETE staff who have run this type of project before, we were blown away the rapid positive development that both the children and adults on this expedition. Within the first day the growth of confidence and comradery shown by the children was clearly visible as they were learning for the first time to adapt to changing environments of the airport, to the plane to landing in the cold climates of Lapland. This once in a life time journey allowed the children to develop a lifelong confidence and skillsets that have already instigated them on the path to break away from the ‘poverty cycle’ of the areas in which they live.
Below are the comments from teachers who went with the children.
Aaron Morris (Riverside Primary School)
The children are far more confident now, they seem to have no problem getting up in front of the whole class and talking about their experiences, often I see them talking with their friends about the stories they heard. The children are generally happier which of course has a positive impact on their learning and the effect they have on others.
Charlie (Riverside Primary School)
For all involved, it has helped to reach new levels of confidence and willingness to try new things. The children are proud of their achievements and keen to tell their families, peers and teachers all about their adventure and things they have learned. From my perspective, it has also built been key in building their independence. For several of the children, it was their first time away without their parents and they showed maturity and responsibility in an unfamiliar environment and situation. When asked to give an whole-school assembly to 600+ children on their return, they stood at the front and spoke without hesitation or nerves.
Georgina (Marine Academy Primary)
The trip has been an incredible experience for both the children and myself. I have been overwhelmed watching the children develop as individuals and their ability to speak confidently about their experiences. Their confidence has continued in their new found personality’s within the classroom, sharing ideas and fun facts across the school! As a teacher, this is a challenge like no other I have ever done! I now feel capable of developing over sees trips to help encourage the raising of aspirations across the school and into our local community which is something I would have never even imagined before! It also gave me a new found enthusiasm for exposing children to stimulus’ outside of our classroom as the positive effect it clearly had cannot be denied.
Jeff (Tamar View Community Centre)
Brendan and Jess have both gained more confidence and more appreciation of the environment and their surroundings. They have found a respect for where they live (Barne Barton and St. Budeaux) and wish to help others find the same level of respect so that their community benefits. Brendan has since taken on increased leadership within his volunteering roles, leading work with children. He has developed the ability to talk in front of a crowd and engage with larger groups. Jess has found a love for writing and is keen to continue to write blogs – she is currently in the midst of GCSEs and is prioritising these at present – but she is still volunteering regularly and is more confident in group settings.
Amelia Ham’s parent view
Amelia has shown increased confidence and independence since her return from Finland. Prior to the trip she could be quite reserved, now she feels capable of standing in front of the school talking about her experiences. She is also more adaptable to difference, for example she will try food that she once would have immediately refused.
Videos from the project