In March the Grade Five students took the big plunge across the sea to Little Cayman. We met on a dark and slightly chilly hour at 5:45 am. Unsurprisingly, the children were wide awake and full of energy – they couldn’t wait for the trip! For many of the students it was their first trip away without family, which was a massive step for both children and parents.
The flight there on the tiny Cayman Airways aircraft was a whirlwind experience. We raised our arms in the air as if we were on a rollercoaster and gazed at the beautiful Cayman Islands below us. Landing through fields of trees and bushes provided much excitement for all as we felt like true adventurers! We were greeted at the airport with friendly smiles by CCMI staff members Tom and Ashley, with whom the children immediately had warm rapport.
The purpose of the trip was for the children to engage in marine conservation. They learnt about how they can make a difference to the environment and help save marine life. The site itself was idyllic and extremely eco-friendly. The children were very impressed with the dorms and felt very grown up.
At CCMI the marine conservation course was carefully divided between lesson time and outdoor practical study. The students enjoyed learning about different types of coral reefs, sea life and marine conservation. Learning was embedded through interactive, team-building games that allowed them to visualize the problems our seas face. It was really impressive how much the children already knew about sea life; the staff were blown away by their knowledge.
It all got quite “Mission: Impossible” as we snorkelled with a baby shark and a stingray at Point of Sands. The students were like fish to water as we circled around the seas, studying the reef and observing fish. We even spotted a few barracuda! What was most lovely about the trip was how well everyone got along. One evening we roasted marshmallows by the fire underneath a sky full of stars. There was an incredible feeling of warmth and unity.
There was a definite sense of being one with nature on the trip. At the Little Cayman National Trust site, we sat on the decking facing a wide pond and sat in awe of the beautiful booby birds as they elegantly swooped by. We also got to meet a few of the native rock iguanas and were impressed by their colour and size.
One of the highlights of the trip for many of the children was experiencing a lionfish dissection. The children were very brave, although there were a few moments of shock!
Another highlight of the trip was riding in the truck down the peaceful lanes of Little Cayman. With the bushes and trees beside us and smiles and waves from people on the street, the students boldly sang our National Song and the MBTS Cheer: ‘Everywhere we go, people want to know, who we are, so we tell them – we are Montessori, mighty, mighty Montessori!’
From Grand to Little, it was a spectacular trip full wonder.
– Submitted by Stephanie Davis, Upper Elementary East