In the second week of this year, our students and teachers attended the inaugural orientation camp at Bergheim Campsite in the Magaliesburg. Every individual who took part in the camp had a hand in the planning process: While our Headmaster, Mr Marx, planned the outdoor activities, teachers prepared the indoor activities and games, and students were given the task of planning the meals.
The camp was geared at not only providing a platform for students to build bonds that we hope will only grow stronger with time, but also to brainstorm our goals and plans for the year ahead – and teachers and students remained engaged throughout. One of the most important conversations that happened was around the school’s Code of Conduct and students were encouraged to provide suggestions around good rules and why they thought a Code of Conduct existed.
Students found many learning opportunities with each other, and with their teachers, combined with fun activities. While hiking through Fernkloof and swimming in the streams, students learned about different rock formations and the ages of the mountains, and while relaxing on one of the rock faces after a challenging ascent, students looked out over the landscape and learned about the different mining activities that take place in the region. Back at camp, students also learned about pitching and maintaining a campsite, and preparing meals, which they did with their teachers, before everyone sat down together around the campfire to enjoy their dinners followed by the roasting of marshmallows.
The orientation camp was a manifestation of a prime tenant of Hamilton House: that learning is not confined to a classroom and to a schedule. The camp demonstrated to all of us that learning can be organic and dynamic, and that knowledge can be created wherever one human being interacts with another.