In keeping with our philosophy that education should extend well beyond the four walls of the classroom, BST Outdoors is an ambitious school-wide programme offering opportunities for students to develop some of the important skills and attributes that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. It includes participation in a broad range of adventurous expeditions and challenges, the International Award (known as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the UK) and regular service-orientated activities.
All students from Year 1 to Year 13 take part in the BST Outdoors residential programme which generates much enthusiasm and excitement throughout the school. For some students these trips provide a first taste of life away from home and they certainly encourage the development of independence and resilience in a safe environment. We have found that such shared experiences are often the starting point for lasting friendships.
Twice a year, led by Mr Mark Grimshaw our BST Outdoors Co-ordinator, the entire Secondary School moves out of Tokyo for up to a week of adventurous activity. The summer trip in the alpine resort of Hakuba offers climbing, kayaking, and mountain-biking, and a wide range of other exciting learning experiences including some that are curriculum-based. Early in the new year the winter trip in the same region sees most of the school on the ski slopes, offering a chance for everyone, from complete beginners to the most advanced skiers and snowboarders, to experience Japan’s famous snow.
In the Primary School our residential trips are organised by year group. Years 5 and 6 spend three nights away from home. Our oldest students travel to Ashigara, Kanagawa in March, to explore traditional Japanese crafts, and carry out a physical, environmental and scientific investigation. Year 5 go to Norikura, Nagano in January where they complete a Design Technology challenge, write winter inspired poetry and take part in ski or snowboard lessons.
Year 4 spend two nights in Yamanakako, Yamanashi in April. They hike in, and learn about the natural environment and vegetation in Japan, experience weaving on looms and enjoy spectacular views of Mount Fuji. Year 3 children travel to Norikura, Nagano in May and June to experience orienteering, abseiling and indoor climbing, as well as other outdoor pursuits.
Year 1 and 2 children spend one night in Hachioji, on the outskirts of Tokyo in May and June, where science, art and PE programmes are taken outside.
Through both the curriculum and the adventurous or service-based activities on offer, our students are encouraged to care about the environment in which they live as well as to develop a curiosity for the world around them. Our goal is to prepare happy, independent and self-assured young people for life in the 21st Century, and to equip them with the team-working and leadership skills they will need to enable them to play a full part as the global citizens of tomorrow. BST Outdoors is an integral part of the holistic education we deliver and, as such, the basic cost of the expeditions and activities mentioned here are included in the annual fee.