The end of the school year is always a blur – kids move, report card comments are due, and the weather makes it hard to focus, never mind get any learning accomplished. This year, I added to that list leading the Grade 6 Discovery Week Trip to Suzdal, Russia (part of my job as Grade 6 team leader), moving across town, and the World Cup (post to follow) – you know, because why not? (never again!).
I had been prepping for Suzdal since January – forms, hotel reservations, parent meetings – as it is the first big trip many of these students will do independent of their parents. Sure, some of them may travel first class with their parents but can they carry their own suitcase across the railroad tracks in Vladimir, a stop on Russia’s Golden Ring? (Spoiler alert – yes, they can, aside from Jean who wiped out carrying a suitcase the size of his body).
For those who remember my post of last year, Suzdal is a former economic stronghold approximately 5 hours Southeast of Moscow. Today it lays host to a large number of Orthodox monasteries, churches, and its own Kremlin (most Russian towns have their own – literally the former town marketplace). The purpose of our journey is primarily independence, amusement, a sprinkling of local culture. Many kiddos can live in Moscow for years and never get to see a town outside the city limits. Suzdal is a perfect intro.
From a wooden architecture museum to the farm on former a movie set, my students had a chance to get out of the classroom and their comfort zone. Highlights included cuddling some bunny rabbits, a homemade amusement park (see the seesaw photo below), and horseback riding.
The kids also got the chance to try their hand at throwing clay pots at the wonderful Dymov Ceramics Studio, definitely my favorite excursion of the week.
All in all, the trip was a great success. All returned home tired, healthy, and happy. With only three days left in the school year, we were all ready for a break! And with the World Cup underway starting June 14, there was lots more fun to be had. Stay tuned…