7 Tips on How to Manage Student Anxiety when on School Camp

2 November, 2023

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School camp is one of the most exciting times of the year for students. It offers them the opportunity to engage in different outdoor activities, make new friends, and explore new environments outside of the normal classroom setting. However, for some students, the thought of being away from their parents, friends, and teachers for several days can be overwhelming, leading to anxiety and even panic attacks. Fortunately, accompanying teachers and outdoor educators can use several strategies to help students manage anxiety while they are on school camp.

  1. Prepare them adequately before the trip. Students should be given detailed information about the activities, accommodation, and schedule beforehand. This way, they can mentally prepare themselves for what to expect. School administrators and parents can also organise orientation meetings, where they discuss camp rules and answer any questions that students may have about camp. This will help to alleviate any concerns or fears students may have about camp.

  2. Establish a routine schedule for the students while on camp. Knowing what activity is coming up next gives students a sense of control, which can reduce anxiety. The daily schedule should also include time for rest and free time, as students need time to recharge and reflect on their experiences. Moreover, teachers can create a routine that is consistent with the normal school day so that students feel like they are still in a familiar environment.

  3. Give students the opportunity to make their own choices. Allowing students to choose their groups can help them feel a sense of autonomy and control over their time during camp. This way, students can participate in activities they enjoy and feel more comfortable doing.

  4. Create a safe environment for students to express their feelings and emotions. If a student expresses anxiety or homesickness, take it seriously. Teachers and camp staff should be empathetic listeners and provide support and encouragement to help the student cope. It is essential to create an environment where students feel safe expressing their feelings without judgment.

  5. Make sure that teachers and staff members are knowledgeable about anxiety and how to manage it. They need to know the common symptoms of anxiety, such as excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, and shortness of breath, so that they can identify and respond appropriately. Teachers can also recommend relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualisation.

  6. It is important to keep in touch with parents. Teachers should communicate regularly with parents to provide updates on students' progress and activities, as well as check-ins on how the students are feeling. Parents can also offer words of encouragement to their children and help them feel connected to home. This communication can also be used to identify any issues that may arise that require the school's intervention.

School camps are an essential part of the learning experience, but they can be a source of anxiety for some students. These tips can help school outdoor educators, teachers, and facilitators manage student anxiety at camp. Adequate preparation, routine schedules, choices, safe environments, knowledgeable staff, and regular communication with parents are all strategies that can be employed to support students and promote their success while they are away from home.

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