Lifeskills – not a typical day in Year 6!

Article written by Mr Dan Jones, Year 6 teacher at Ashley Down Primary

Thursday 25th October 2018 was not a typical day in Year 6!

After a short coach trip, the children found themselves dealing with situations ranging from helping to resuscitate an unconscious child to avoiding being short-changed at a supermarket. They even had to call the emergency services when they discovered a blazing house fire – and this was all done within the confines of one amazing building!

Each year we are extremely lucky to visit Lifeskills, a charity that teaches Year 6 children to assess risk, cope with difficult situations and encourages them to take personal responsibility for their own safety. They have converted the floor of a warehouse into a series of interactive, highly realistic scenarios that the children could (and often do) face in everyday life.

The classes are split into groups of 3 or 4 and visit each activity with a volunteer guide (while the teachers and other adults on the trip have a cup of tea and a biscuit!). The children work together with the guide to decide how to overcome/deal with the each situation.

As Year 6 teachers, this is something that we are simply unable to recreate at school. The range and realism of each of the scenarios is incredible and the opportunity to learn genuinely lifesaving skills, second to none.

Listening to children from your class phone the ‘emergency services’ and explain that there is a fire, or that they need an ambulance, is an experience that gives you a huge sense of security that they are learning skills that could one day save their (or others’) lives. It is also an experience that fills you with a huge amount of pride at their confidence and ability to cope under pressure.

We are extremely grateful to the PSA for funding the trip as it means that all our children are able to access it without finance being an issue. It’s always one of the highlights of the year and is an experience that stays with the Year 6s for a very long time.

We asked the children to tell us what they learnt and enjoyed on the trip. Here are a few of their comments:

‘Thank you so much for the amazing experience. I really enjoyed calling the police when there was an emergency and finding the hazards in all the different scenarios.’

‘The scenarios taught me new and exciting things that will help me throughout life.’

‘Everything was super fun and educating. Everyone enjoyed it and now, whenever a situation happens, we are prepared!’

‘I found Lifeskills a lot of fun. We learnt how to get out of difficult situations and enjoyed ourselves a lot at the same time.’

‘I loved solving all the problems.’

‘The volunteers who showed us around were very friendly and answered all our questions.’

If you want to know more, chat to a Year 6 – just be prepared to listen for a very long time!