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“Fall” at Norval

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 1.27.57 PMHis heart was in his throat. There he was, standing on the top of the “trust fall” platform, waiting to fall backwards into the outstretched arms of his classmates. In his head, he knew he could do it. After all, he’d practised falling a number of times at ground level. He had also watched some of the bigger guys in the class fall safely from the platform, so he knew that they could catch him. In spite of his knowing he could do it, the butterflies in his stomach weren’t so sure. As he called out “falling,” he closed his eyes, leaned his head back and began the “endless” five-foot descent into the safety net made by the arms of many friends.

And so begins each Form 7 week at Norval.

Every year, Form 7 advisors begin the process of blending together the many new boys with the returning students into a cohesive class group. Part of the Prep approach to this challenge is to send Form 7 students to the Norval Outdoor School at the beginning of the school year, two classes at a time for a full week. At Norval, the Form 7 boys experience a wide variety of team-building activities such as “trust falls” and ropes course strategy games. Even common camping activities such as cooking dinner over a campfire and sleeping out in four-person tents are shared challenges that give students the opportunity to work together and get to know each other better.

While the major focus of the week is group bonding, there’s also a strong curricular side to the fall Form 7 program at Norval. For example, students learn about Ontario pioneer history through a history simulation exercise as well as an archaeological dig at an authentic pioneer farm site on the Norval property. Students get to experience more recent history by learning the all-but-forgotten art of film photography. By Friday afternoon, the line between new boys and returning boys has been blurred and all the boys go home knowing each other, and their form advisor, on a much deeper level.

If you would like to experience Norval first-hand, please join us at our fall family open house on Sunday, Oct. 18 between 1 and 3 p.m. You can tour the property or make apple cider with our wooden cider press. This is the first of four family open houses we offer at Norval every year. Friends are welcome, as are leashed pets.

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