Excursions were organised for 4th and 5th standard children from 23 schools to Birla Planetarium and Guindy Park and for 7th and 8th std children from 7 schools to Senji and Thiruvannamalai. This was sponsored by Hyundai Glovis.
The annual excursions that we organize for the children is one of the most difficult and at the same time fun-filled exercise we undertake every year. It has been expanding in scope gradually every year. From 8 schools over 2 Saturdays in 2016 we increased it to 19 schools over 3 Saturdays in 2019. This year we increased it further to ??? schools over 4 Saturdays.
We have usually been taking children from 4th and 5th standards to the excursion. This made sense as we were mostly supporting primary schools and children of classes 1 to 3 are too young to really enjoy or remember such an excursion and then will also get their chance when they reach 4th and 5th standards. However, as we also started supporting a number of middle schools, it was sad to leave out the higher class children. Also, the children in 6th to 8th standard may also be from neighbouring schools where we didn’t take the children for excursions. For these reasons we asked the middle schools whether we should take the 7th and 8th std children for excursion instead of classes 4th and 5th. Some of the older schools preferred to continue the old arrangement whereas some of them preferred for us to take the higher class children. Therefore, this year we organized excursion for 4th and 5th std children from 23 schools over 3 Saturdays and also for 7th and 8th std children from 7 schools on one Saturday.
Excursions for 4th and 5th std children
We planned the excursion for 4th and 5th std children on the following days: 25th Jan, 15th Feb, and 22nd Feb. We have usually been alternating between Mahabalipuram and Chennai for the destination. This year too, we followed the same pattern and brought the children to Chennai. Click here to see the photos from all the three excursions for the 4th and 5th children.
Here is a schedule of their excursion.
- 7:00 am Board the bus at the respective schools. In some cases they come by a share auto upto the bus boarding point as the roads are very narrow.
- 10:00 to 10:15 am Arrive at Birla Planetarium. After receiving T-shirt and cap and taking group photos the children will enter the museum by about 10:30 to 10:45.
- 12:00 noon Planetarium Tamil show. It is usually booked entirely for our group.
- 1:30 to 1:45 pm Arrive at Ragasudha for lunch.
- 2:30 pm Distribution of gifts.
- 3:00 to 3:15 pm Leave Ragasudha for Guindy Children’s park.
- 6:00 pm Leave Guindy park back to Thiruvallur.
- 9:00 pm All children reach their schools.
For all the three excursions the excursion took place more or less according to this plan. On the 22nd alone they had to first go to the Guindy park in the morning and then go to the planetarium after lunch. This was because we could only book the 4:00 pm show for the planetarium. This year there was a new Augmented Reality show in the Guindy park and a new Science on the Sphere show at the planetarium. Both of these were enjoyed by the children.
In the morning the children were given snacks and similarly on the way back too they were given snacks. The lunch was arranged with Annai Pazhamudhir Cholai.
As we usually do, we had arranged for the following things to be given to the children on the excursion – a nicely designed bright T-shirt and cap and a play item. The choices of play items this year were a cricket bat and ball OR and tennikoit ring and skipping rope OR a 13-in-1 magnetic board game. The teachers were also given an adult T-shirt (same design as for the children), cap and a choice of play item like the children.
Children from the following schools were takes for the excursion as given below.
Jan 25th Kosavanpalayam, Old Thirupatchur, Kuppammal Chathiram, Manjakuppam, Gandhigramam, Ramanjeri, Thomur, Thiruppair and Greenvel Natham.
Feb 15th Neyveli, Thandalam, Kannigaiper, Annanagar and Athivakkam.
Feb 22nd Ammambakkam, Allikuzhi, Placepalayam, Katchur, Pondhavakkam, Kottaikulam, Gengulukandigai, Pudhukandigai and Sriramakuppam.
Here are some photos from the excursions.
Excursion for 7th and 8th std children
Given that these are older children, we felt they can handle a longer excursion and planned an excursion to Senji and Thiruvannamalai.
Click here to see the photos from this excursion.
Here is the schedule the was planned for this excursion.
- 5:00 am Board the bus at the respective schools. Children bring breakfast with them and have it in the bus.
- 9:30 am Arrive at Senji and enter the fort shortly thereafter.
- 9:45 to 12:45 See the Senji fort. Climb Krishnagiri and also see the attractions at the ground level. Then leave for Thiruvannamalai.
- 1:30 pm Arrive at MK Chathiram in Thiruvannamalai for lunch.
- 2:15 pm Distribution of gifts.
- 2:45 to 4:00 pm See Thiruvannamalai temple.
- 4:15 to 5:15 pm Forest way park and eco-walk on Arunagiri.
- 5:30 pm Leave back for Thiruvallur. Dinner break for 45 mins on the way at Vassi Palaze.
- 10:30 pm All children reach their schools.
We could plan and manage the trip to Senji and Thiruvannamalai because we have a project running in that area, Project Thulasi. The steward and the teachers from project Thulasi also came to help us with distribution of T-shirts, distribution of gifts organizing the children etc. We couldn’t have managed thee excursion without their support.
The children got to enjoy all the things that were planned for them. However time started slipping right from the start. The buses left the schools only between 6:00 and 6:30 and arrived at Senji fort between 10:30 and 11:00. The children had a good time climbing and seeing Krishnagiri and then the palace at the base of Rajagiri. When we finally left Senji it was 1:45 and the children got to have lunch only by 2:30. The lunch organized from the nearby Hotel Deepam was good.
We couldn’t organize the distribution of gifts at this place because the buses were parked a little far away and decided to move it to Forest way. By the time they finally finished lunch and went to the Thiruvannamalai temple it was about 3:30 pm. The teachers ended up taking a lot of time at the temple and the shopping areas around there and reached Forest Way only by about 5:30 pm. The children got a quick tour of the place with assistance from local volunteers of Forest Way. They also got to enjoy the well maintained park there. As the public are made to leave the park by 6:00 pm, our children had the whole park for themselves for a while! After that we distributed the gifts and the buses could finally leave only by 7:00 pm!
Dinner was at a terribly delayed 10:30 pm. The dinner was good but the sleepy children couldn’t enjoy it. They left the restaurant at 11:45 and finally the children reached their schools well after 1:00 am! So while the excursion went well, the bad delay left a bad taste at the end of the excursion. We need to plan this differently next year. Excursion this far away with all our extras is difficult to pull off.
The various things given to the children and teachers like snacks, T-shirt, cap and a play item were the same as for the 4th and 5th std excursion. The children loved them as much as the younger children.
Children from the following schools were taken for the excursion: Nelvoy, Odhappai, Vellathukottai, Kunnavalam, Athipattu, Anandheri and TB Puram.
Here are some photos from the excursion.
The children enjoyed all the 4 excursions. In total over 800 children and teachers from 30 schools had a wonderful time visiting places they have never visited before. When we go to schools these days, this is the only thing the children talk to us about and they have already started dreaming of the excursion next year. The middle school excursion that we attempted for the first time this year was greatly appreciated by the children but it did not go as per plan and we will change things so that there is sufficient buffer time is available for some slippages without going this late.