It’s no secret: I travel a bit. And lately, a lot of that travel has been without my children. This week, however, the tables were turns as one of my children went on a trip without me!

The little ladies attend a diverse international school that takes students on annual overnight trips. In the past students in year groups 4, 5 and 6  (3rd, 4th and 5th grades in the US school system) went away for 2, 3 and 4 night stays respectively.  This year, however, students in year 3 (2nd grade) also went on an overnight trip.

Did you get that? Year 3 students, 2nd graders, 7-8 year-olds are going on an overnight trip.  Oh, wait. Did I mention that I have a kid in year 3? So yes, Miss V, my youngest child, my baby, who just celebrated her 8th birthday a few weeks ago, packed her bag (well, actually, I packed her bag, but with major input from Miss V) and went on a trip sans mom.

Packing the necessities: clothes, toiletries, cuddly toy.
How is it that my kids are always in the guinea pigs when it comes to these school trips? Miss P was part of the first Year 4 class to go on an overnight, and now Miss V.  I joke, obviously.  This is a wonderful experience for them and one of those wonderful benefits of living in Europe that I always talk about, since overnight school trips are not unusual here. The philosophy at the girls’ school regarding these trips is that they are an aspect of the curriculum that the school uses to help build leadership, cooperation, self-confidence and independence in the students.
Lots of 7 and 8-year-olds ready to go on their class trip.
The destination is determined based on a topic they have studied during the year.  Miss V’s class is studying the rainforest so they went to the Burgers’ Zoo and Apenheul to learn more about the animals that found in rainforests. The group went to Burgers’ Zoo on the first day, spent the night at accommodations sort of halfway between the two, and then spent the second day at Apenheul before arriving back at school just after a normal school day would have ended.
Miss V loads her bag onto the bus.
The group was well chaperoned, with 1 adult was responsible for a group of 4 children.  Students are not allowed to bring mobile phones or to have contact with home unless there is an emergency.  Updates are sent to the school and the class parent forward the information to the rest of the parents.
Miss V came back from the trip all smiles, excited to tell me of her adventure and thinking about the next one.
Like mother, like daughter.