Despite Joshua’s lack of sleep the night before, he enjoyed his school trip to the wildlife park : we set off from school in two minibuses, each laden with a careful balance of children and staff, with combinations that would create minimal conflict. I have enormous respect for the staff being willing to take 21 challenging teenagers, each having their own unique ways, out for the day. I could see the anxiety on their faces as children were repeatedly counted and potential incidents were intercepted.
We tucked into a picnic lunch straight after the baboon enclosure, and then everyone sat still and devoured their snacks.Joshua took one bite of his ham roll, then threw the rest at me, which became a theme of the day; later he had a cople of licks of his ice cream then he hurled it at his teacher, I saw it happening but was just too slow to intervene! His throwing antics create much amusement amongst both staff and pupils.
After lunch, we walked through the lemur enclosure and they made Joshua giggle for several reasons : they were close enough as they leapt between trees over out heads, they were not to small to see and I like to think that he recognised the creatures from his favourite movie, Madagascar. The sleeping tigers and polar bears who were play-fighting in their water, did not get such a good reaction from Joshua. We walked a long way, Joshua started by walking well but after a fair distance,and a fair effort, he declines, and needed his wheelchair. I thought that he might have slumped to sleep but he stayed awake and enjoyed the companionship, if not the wilder animals.
The school trip ended with an ice cream, which was a messy experience, then all embarking back on the minibuses for a 90 minute drive home. Some of the children nodded off, but not my son who kept shouting ‘Monkey’ and ‘Movie’ out, louder and louder. we arrived back in school, just in time for everyone to grab their bags and catch their transport home, so it was timed to perfection. While it was a fun day as a visitor, as we shared a hot drink together, it was clear how draining such an expedition is. As a parent I am grateful that despite the organisational trauma and exhaustion that an outing presents, that class trips are still part of his timetable ,as I can see how much they get out of such a fun day out. At this school it seems to be a matter of planning out how a trip can be enjoyed by all safely, whereas previously, Joshua has missed out because his epilepsy became a reason why he could NOT do something outside of the confines of school. We much prefer this approach and he has benefitted from many outings as a result.