By the time several teachers had arrived at Pudong International Airport at 06:00 on Wednesday, 18 September, DAI You Cheng from G6 Amber was already there. He said that he couldn’t wait to go to Mahota Town Penglai with his school friends for the Grade 6 Camp.
Indeed, the camp is considered one of the rites of passage for some of the students, as it was the first time they’d be travelling without their parents. This excursion, now in its third year, is definitely a Grade 6 highlight in the SSIS calendar.
The students were greeted by the hosts upon arrival at Peng Lai Airport. Lunch at the Mahota Cafe was followed by a visit to the greenhouses, where students learnt about organic farming. They even had a chance to taste some of the healthy produce inside the greenhouses – there’s nothing like experiential learning to drive home the message.
Learning to cultivate snow fungus was quite an experience for some of the students. They had to prepare packs of sawdust that were used to grow snow fungus. When making the pack, KOK Hui Ci Abbie from G6 Pearl was amazed that simple wood shaving (sawdust) could be used to cultivate snow fungus. The students also visited the greenhouses where snow fungus was kept under 80% humidity condition for their healthy growth.
A visit to the nearby sheds where goats and kids were kept was an exciting affair for some students. They had a chance to pat and feed the kids. It was the first time that some of them were able to touch and interact with farm animals.
After dinner, it was time for the highlight of the trip – the campfire! This was definitely one of the most exciting parts of the whole excursion, loved by all the students. In particular, Egor TSIKHANOVICH from G6 Ruby said that the fireworks after the campfire was fun, while WANG Xu Hao from G6 Amber loved the way it sparkled and noted that it was beautiful. Sophie FU from G6 Pearl appreciated the fact that everyone was singing, dancing, cheering and chanting happily during the campfire. They certainly had a fun night bonding with their peers.
The second day was a day full of activities, with visits to the Peng Lai Ocean Aquarium, Mahota vineyard and winery, and the Butterfly and Flower Garden.
At the Ocean Aquarium, students learnt how sea creatures adapted to their environment by evolving different physical features and characteristics. They also saw a variety of sea creatures, from tiny jellyfish to humongous white whales. Students were treated to an exclusive show where they witnessed animal trainers interacting and training with the white whales and seals. The students saw many concepts and lessons come to life.
The other highlight of the camp was learning about winemaking. The students had the opportunity to visit the vineyard where they were taught to pick the best Merlot grapes (dark and big ones), for making wine.
They then proceeded to the winery where they selected the good grapes for crushing before separating the grapes into containers for fermentation. LIU Zhuochi George from Grade 6 Amber said that he didn’t realise that grape peels from the fermenting grapes would eventually float and be removed during the process. The students also learnt about the bottling process before visiting the wine cellar, where barrels of wines were kept for further ageing. Other than the entire winemaking and fermentation process, students also learnt that good things take time and effort to achieve.
The last morning was filled with eight team-building exercises and other games, which included human chairs, minefields, conjoined walk, untie-the-knots, and back-to-back stand up, just to name a few. Students had to work together as pairs or teams to solve problems or compete on the sprawling grass fields in Mahota Town. “Zoom was fun because we had to work together to come up with a coherent story using ideas from different pictures given to us,” said LIU Zhuochi George.
While waiting to board the flight back to Shanghai, Sophie FU from G6 Pearl had nothing but good memories of the camp. She said that she would recommend the camp to any G5 students in SSIS for the following year. “I learnt a lot about science, the environment and nature. The food was delicious and healthy, and everyone worked hard to make sure that the excursion was good for us,” she noted with a smile.
Mr. Doruk GURKAN
Senior School Principal
“I really enjoyed the interactions with the students. The camp was well-planned, everyone did their part, and Mahota Town also deserves a pat on the shoulder for working so closely with the school to make everything seamless.“
Mr. Frankie CHUNG
Primary School Principal
“The camp was indeed fruitful: students were able to enjoy their learning away from the confines of classrooms, and in a safe, friendly environment. Kudos to the parents for allowing their kid to take part, and to the teachers and Mahota Town for making this another successful excursion.“
At SSIS, we want students to excel academically, but we also want them to have a holistic education, and this includes their After School Programmes and the yearly field trips we organise to enhance their learning about the world outside the classrooms.