At The Royal Academy, learners, both students and adults, participate in 2 Nature Retreats every year. Each Nature Retreat is an important learning experience that spans a period of 5 nights and 6 days each. The idea behind these retreats is manifold. The Nature Retreat helps learners appreciate the magnificence of the world we live in. It teaches them vital aspects which cannot be done within a classroom and helps them develop survival and social skills. The education system seldom gives students the opportunity to connect to their roots or nature. The Nature Retreat re-establishes this connection and learners are able to see and experience for themselves their interconnectedness with nature and learn how humans have an integral part to play in preserving and protecting nature.
The Nature Retreat also plays a significant role in facilitating positive interactions between learners and their peers and helping build stronger relationships not only among peers but also between Mentors and their mentees. The emotional and social interaction that occurs during the nature retreat is essential to help the mentor understand their mentees better and help them through their learning journey.
As a part of the engagement programme among the 23 Bhutan Baccalaureate schools, a Nature Retreat organised from 11-16 May 2023. A total of 362 teachers and students participated in the Nature Retreat. This included 318 participants (students and teachers) from The Royal Academy and 44 students from the 22 Bhutan Baccalaureate schools (2 students from each of the 22 schools). The Nature Retreat aimed to provide a unique learning experience for learners and foster strong bonds between the participants.
The Nature Retreat was organised in the 27 existing mentor-mentee groups from The Royal Academy. The 44 students from the remaining Bhutan Baccalaureate schools were then distributed among these 27 mentor-mentee groups. The allocation process ensured that students from each of the 22 schools were distributed into separate groups, ensuring diversity and a mix of students from different schools in each group.
Each mentor-mentee group embarked on their journey to different location for the Nature Retreat, spanning across 10 different Dzongkhags in Bhutan: Paro, Thimphu, Haa, Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang, Trongsa, Dagana, Tsirang, Chhukha, and Gasa.
The overall report for the Nature Retreat can be found here.