3 Unofficial Summer Schools for Smaller Skippers
For many families this is the last week of the school term, when the parents receive the school reports and the kids get to bring games in on the last day. However, boating families can make learning fun during the holidays by using the canals as an educational resource – the kids won’t even notice they’re learning!
Here are our top three opportunities for young people to learn more about the waterways this summer.
1) The Canal and River Trust
The Trust and many other charities now offer the opportunity for many children to get involved with boating and canals. The Trust offers learning resources linked to the National Curriculum, trails, water safety sessions, ideas for badges, challenges and other activities. Their education volunteers visit both classrooms and outdoor waterside locations and they are currently looking for more volunteers to help educate young people at local primary schools, Cub Scout and Brownie groups.
There is plenty of information for children, teachers, group leaders and families to check out over the summer on canalrivertrust.org.uk/explorers
2) Community Boats
Many community boating organisations deliver programmes, activities and services to children and young people. Projects on or around the southern Grand Union and London waterways include Camden Canals and Narrowboat Association, The Pirate Castle, Angel Community Canal Boat Trust, Hillingdon Narrowboats Association, and the South West Herts Narrowboat Project. These charities offer a range of boats and activities for young people, including skippered cruises and sometimes residential holidays.
There are also two electric barges in London serving as floating classrooms; Beauchamp in Paddington and the Elsdale Floating Classroom near Uxbridge in Middlesex.
3) Canal Museums
There is a canal museum at Kings Cross in London and another one at Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire. They both have educational exhibitions and a calendar of events, making them an unusual day trip option for rainy days.
So opportunities to learn about the canals and waterways have increased dramatically since I was a child. Were narrowboats and canals a part of your school days? What’s your favourite canal-related memory from childhood? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.
Blog by Peggy
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