The new term at the International School of Florence begins with orientation trip week for students in Grades 6-10. Immersed in nature, these trips help students get to one another and learn important skills for the year ahead. Students and teachers explored Tuscany and Umbria, enjoying outdoor activities, watersports and guided hikes.
Grade 6 went to a seaside resort on the Maremma coast. Students enjoyed the best of land and sea with swimming, surfing and sailing as well as tennis. Toby Dean, Learning Lead for Sport at ISF, accompanied the trip, summing it up as “an authentic way to get to know the students in a relaxed and beautiful environment while engaging in a variety of sports activities”.
The Grade 7 orientation trip was held at the Green Energy Camp in Mugello, the first village in Italy created specifically for outdoor experiential training. Divided into groups, students completed activities, such as lighting a fire and building a shelter, as well as cooking piadina bread using the basic resources available to them.
Grade 8 students went to Garfagnana. Activities in Canyon Park included team building games, a dip in the lake and ziplining through the trees! After fully gearing up with wetsuits, padding and headgear, students were instructed by guides through the canyoning course. Lilly describes her experience as “the best orientation trip I have ever been on” and confirms she would “do it again in a heartbeat”!
Our 9th-Grade class enjoyed learning about how wine is produced at the Tenuta Ammiraglia winery. Students were greeted by the Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi before taking a tour of the vineyards as well as inside the Frescobaldi estate. The following day there was sailing on a catamaran and a trip to Giglio Island, where students enjoyed swimming, snorkeling and diving.
Grade 10 students set off for Norcia in the mountains of the Monti Sibillini National Park. They were introduced to the range of biodiversity and natural beauty that the park has to offer. They participated in activities such as rafting and were taken on a guided hiking trip. Physical Education teacher Bruce Baddeley commented on the “respectful cooperation at its best and a great opportunity to interact with both students and staff”.
The orientation trips ensure students start the year positively. Science and Italian teacher Massimo Boscherini, coordinator of the trips for the Upper School, describes the benefits of students being challenged “out of their comfort zone” to experience something new.
At ISF, we aim to give students a holistic education, with learning taking place inside and outside of the classroom, enabling students to grow and learn through hands-on group activities.