Pupils from Years 5-8 have recently returned from an exciting and fun-packed educational trip to Warsy, France.
Before they even arrived at their accommodation, they were treated to a tour of a chocolate factory in French, where they learnt exactly how various types of chocolate are made. They were in awe of the creations from the experts there and were understandably very keen to sample the chocolate for themselves.
Some even decided to treat family members by purchasing items to give as gifts but we aren’t sure if temptation proved too much during the coming days and how much actually made its way back!
Next, they headed off to see where they were going to be staying for the next few days. Audible gasps could be heard as the children caught their first glimpses of the impressive château that was to become their home. Their excitement to explore and see their rooms was fantastic to see and they were not disappointed as they were greeted with authentic surroundings – including the amazing bathrooms!
Their first sampling of French cuisine that evening lived up to, and even surpassed their expectations, as the staff encouraged them to make their choices using their French learned in the classroom
Saturday brought what was, by the children’s own admission, one of the highlights of the trip. We were extremely proud of their enthusiasm and skill as they greeted the French market sellers and made their own purchases, entirely in the French language. The children revelled in this opportunity and made the most of the chance to sample some traditional and local delights.
Saturday afternoon was a trip to the goat farm. Again in French, the children learn about how goats cheese was made. They were keen to milk a goat themselves and then try the goats’ milk and cheese too. The best part for many was undoubtedly the opportunity to meet and cuddle the goats first hand.
The campfire on Saturday night saw the children toasting marshmallows and working with the Château staff to impress with their group skills – and singing talents!
Sunday morning was a choice of fencing or a raft-building activity. Those who chose fencing soon picked up the etiquette and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of learning this new skill.
The laughter from the children, who opted for the raft-building, could be heard resonating around the château grounds.
Their teamwork was highly impressive, as they built their own rafts and then tried to steer them across the lake.
Sunday afternoon saw a totally different aspect to the trip. The children were very interested to visit both German and British cemeteries, as they made an inspiring visit to The Somme. They then moved on to the Thiepval monument, which commemorates more than 72,000 men from the British and South African forces who were reported missing in the Somme.
Towering over 45 metres in height, it dominates the landscape for miles around. It is the largest Commonwealth memorial to the missing in the world. and some children even managed to track down the names of some of their relatives who had lost their lives in the war.
Finally, the children visited the Albert Somme museum where they were able to learn more about the conditions experienced by the soldiers and see some artefacts from the war. It was certainly a very moving afternoon, vital to our children’s learning.
Sunday evening brought a first for many children – the opportunity to sample frogs’ legs and snails!
Whilst some were not overly keen, others absolutely devoured the traditional delicacies.
Traditions continued into the night, as the children tried their hand at pétanque.
They loved this game and it certainly brought out their competitive sides.
Monday was our final day but, not content with simply making the journey home, children headed for the snail farm. The farmer clearly explained the process from rearing to eating the snails. The children once again impressed with their understanding of the French explanation and the asking of their own questions in French.
They were fascinated by and interested to hold the snails. Our host had prepared not one but five variations of the national dish. Two cold choices included snail pȃté and snail sausage. These were followed by three warm dishes, all cooked in different ways. They proved to be very popular – particularly the one which is eaten in French households at Christmas time.
The final visit of the day was to the pȃtisserie. The owners explained, in French, the process for making both commercial and traditional bread, highlighting the importance a freshly-baked baguette plays in the lives of the French.
The baker, in his own unique style, encouraged the children to translate the ingredients for bread before demonstrating how to make croissants. This was a priceless experience for everyone involved, with all children enjoying the humorous style of the connoisseur.
Wow! What a trip! The children seized every opportunity to immerse themselves in the French culture. For many, it was their very first time away from home, let alone going abroad without family. They were a credit to Oakhill and there is no doubt that they have created memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.