Hougang Primary School P6 Kayaking Expedition Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) KAYAKING Q: What are the objectives of the expedition? A: The objectives of the expedition are to: • Summarise and apply the skills learnt in the Outdoor Adventure Education (OAE)/PE Specialisation Modules into the Expedition (Kayaking). • Develop character, leadership, team building and confidence in pupils. • Inculcate the spirit to venture into new frontiers. Q: Where could I go to look for more information about kayaking? A: You could go to the following websites: • Water-Venture, formerly known as PA Seasports Club – www.water-venture.org.sg/ • Singapore Canoe Federation – www.scf.org.sg/ Q: Is this the first time the School is organising a water-based activity? A: No, as a building block, the school first introduced a compulsory ‘Learn to Swim’ Programme for all its P4 pupils. It was then brought forward to the Primary 2 pupils and since 2009, the programme has been replaced by the ‘Swimsafer’ programme and are taught to the Primary 1 pupils. The school also conducted snorkelling lessons to its P3 pupils as a follow up to their swimming programme. The school is also the pioneer for primary schools to embark on the Singapore Canoe Federation National Junior Kayaking Programme, which started in the year 2004. Our pupils are also privileged to be exposed to dragon boating, whitewater rafting and scuba diving activities at a tender age. PRE-REQUISITE Q: Can my child/ward participate in the expedition if he/she cannot swim at all? A: Yes, they can participate in the expedition without the ability to swim at all. As a safety measure, it is compulsory for all pupils to wear their buoyancy vests once they are in the water or on the kayak. The buoyancy vests are designed to aid the pupils to float on the water without the need to swim. Pupils will be taught how to choose their vests for the correct fit, how to wear the vest correctly and how to perform buddy check to increase the safety margin. Q: Will there be any water confidence activities prior to the conduct of the kayaking? A: To build the pupils’ water confidence, while donning their buoyancy vests, trainers will conduct water confidence games at about waist depth. Through the activities, trainers will then assess the pupils’ water confidence accordingly. They will then pay more attention to the pupils who lack water confidence during the duration of the expedition. Q: Can I opt for my child/ward not to participate in the water confidence activities above? A: Yes, but we would encourage your child/ward to participate in the water confidence activities as the progression will be beneficial to them. If your child/ward in not going to participate in the water confidence activities, he/she needs to inform the trainers prior to the conduct of the activities. Q: Must my child/ward be proficient in swimming to participate in the expedition? A: The ability to swim will be an asset in the expedition but pupils need not be proficient in swimming. In kayaking, pupils will be in their kayaks 99% of the time. The only time pupils are out of the kayaks is when they launch or recover the kayaks or when the kayak capsizes. In an event of a capsize, pupils will be required to stay with their kayaks and wait for help to arrive. SCHEDULE / PROGRAMME Q: What are the schedules for the various classes? Please refer to the letter given to your child/ward. LOCATION OF VENUE Q: Where is Water-Venture (Pasir Ris) located? A: Water-Venture (Pasir Ris) is located at 125 Elias Road. Q: Where is Water-Venture (Changi) located? A: Water-Venture (Changi) is located at 285 Nicoll Drive Changi Point. ATTIRE Q: What is the attire for the activity? A: Pupils are advised to wear the following: Hat Protects the head from the sun‟s rays. Long sleeve t-shirt / Protects pupil effectively from the sun‟s rays. Short sleeve t-shirt Lesser protection from the sun but good enough to minimise any abrasions as a result of rubbing against the buoyancy vest. Shorts / pants Use comfortable shorts. If pupil wears long pants, do put on pants with thinner materials to minimise hindrance to movements should a capsize occurs. Shoes / booties Compulsory, to protect the feet from being injured. (covering toes) Socks are not required. Q: What other things/items are required? A: Pupils are advised to bring along the following: Water bottle To prevent dehydration. Sun block Protects skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Sunglasses (Optional) If worn, do put on a retainer to safeguard the sunglasses from falling off into the water. EQUIPMENT Q: Is proper equipment available for the activity? A: Yes. Q: Is the equipment of approved standards and checked for usability? A: Yes, equipment is of approved standards. The Staff of the club and trainers will check the equipment for usability. Pupils will also be taught how the perform self-check to ensure that the equipment they are using are of acceptable safety standard. TRANSPORT Q: Will transport be provided? A: Yes, transport will be provided for. WATER & FOOD Q: Will meals be provided? A: Yes, pupils will be provided with dry rations. They will use the dry rations for cooking in their assigned groups. Fresh rations will be issued at certain meals. Q: Are the food suitable for Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu consumption? A: All served food will be Halal. There will be no pork, lard or beef served during the duration of the expedition. Q: Will there be vegetarian food or special diet provided? A: Yes, but pupils who are vegetarian or require special diets are to inform their form teachers pertaining to their needs and to indicate them in their Course/Activity Form. The Logistic Officer will then make the necessary arrangements for these pupils. Q: What happens when my child/ward gets thirsty while paddling? A: All pupils are required to have a water bottle with them at all times. They can drink at anytime while paddling. During the rest breaks, on land or on water, trainers will ensure that all pupils have a drink. Q: What happens if my child/ward runs out of water while paddling? A: All safety boats carry additional water supply. Pupils will be given water re-supply upon request. Q: What happens when my child/ward gets hungry while paddling? A: All safety boats carry food supply. During rest breaks, pupils can request for food. Q: Can my child/ward bring additional food? A: No, they will be supplied with ample food. TEACHERS/TRAINERS Q: Are there teachers accompanying the pupils throughout the 2 days? A: Yes, the form teachers or substitute teachers will accompany the respective classes throughout the expedition. Q: Are any other adults accompanying the pupils apart from the respective form/substitute teachers? A: Apart from the form/substitute teachers, there will be at least ten Singapore Canoe Federation Kayaking Coaches and three Safety Boat Officers to ensure that the pupils are safe. There will also be additional OAE teachers and an Expedition Overall-In-Charge. On land, there will be a Logistic Team providing the necessary land support and an Emergency Vehicle ready to be activated accordingly. Q: Are the school teachers competent enough to handle the kayaking expedition? A: Yes, the school has put in a lot of effort and resources in the training of the teachers. The OAE Department teachers have conducted and led the Kayaking Expedition since 2006 and have a lot of experience leading pupils out for outdoor adventure education activities. The OAE teachers are also trained and certified in Kayaking 1 and 2 Star (Personal Skills Award) and all of them are first-aid trained. Q: Do the teachers have any track records of conducting Outdoor Adventure Activities that will help reassure parents/guardians that the expedition is safe and that their child/ward is in safe hands? A: With reference to the above list, our teachers are highly qualified in terms of their personal and coaching skills in the aspects of water sports. They have been actively involved in the planning, coordinating, executing and reviewing of the following Outdoor Adventure Activities organised by the school and has maintained a clean record for zero accident of serious nature: • P2 – P6 Outdoor Adventure Education Modules for PE (first school to embark on such a large scale OAE Programme concerning the different levels) • P3 – P6 Outdoor Adventure Education Enrichment Programme (Abseiling, Zipline, Rock Climbing, Challenge Pillar, Confidence Ropes Course) • P1 Swimming Programme • P2 Zoo Trail • P3 Snorkelling Programme • P4 Super Outdoor Adventure Race • P5 Integrated Camp (Activities include Initiative Games, General Stations, Confidence Ropes Course, Kayaking, Outdoor Cooking, Backwoods Cooking and Orienteering) • P4 Mount Brinchang/Pahang Expedition (first primary school to embark on expedition) • P5 Mount Kinabalu Expedition (one of the rare primary schools to embark on expedition) • P6 Nepal/Mount Brinchang Expedition (one of the rare primary schools to embark on expedition) • Kayaking: Pool, MacRitchie Reservoir, Bedok Reservoir, Pasir Ris, East Coast and Kallang Basin (first primary school to embark on programme) • Whitewater Rafting (one of the rare primary school to embark on programme) Other Adhoc activities/courses: • Bouldering, Rock climbing, Sports Climbing, Abseiling, Zipline, Snorkelling, Scuba Diving, Kayaking, Dragon Boating, Fishing Trip (Pulau Ubin), Hiking and Orienteering We hope the above track records would enthuse you to continue to give your support for the school‟s OAE Programmes. Q: Are the trainers accompanying the pupils for the expedition trained and certified? A: The trainers are all professionally trained and hold at least a Singapore Canoe Federation Coach Level 1 certification. They also have current first aid certification with CPR. Q: What is the ratio of trainer to participant? A: The trainer to participant ratio is at least 1 to 12. Q: Will the trainer force the pupils to perform tasks, which they are afraid of? A: The school has given specific instructions to the Operator, Water-Venture regarding this issue. The trainers will only encourage pupils to perform the specified task but will not force them into performing the task if the pupil is not comfortable doing them. PARTICIPANTS Q: Is there any pre-activity training done prior to the expedition? A: All the outdoor skills required for the expedition were covered during the Outdoor Adventure Education Modules (PE lessons). Pupils will be required to put the skills learnt to good use. Q: Will there be a briefing for all the pupils prior to the expedition? A: (Please refer to letter given to pupils for the date of briefing). Pupils will be given more details pertaining to the expedition. They will be made aware of the expectations of their participation and performance. They will be issued the packing list and will be advised on how to go about doing their packing. At the end of the briefing, there will be a Q & A session. Q: Will pupils be required to do any medical screening prior to the expedition? A: No, unless they have any form of medical history/conditions as stated in the Activity/Course Form. Q: What kayaks will the pupils be paddling? A: They will be paddling the double-tourer sit-in kayaks. Two pupils will be paddling in one kayak. Q: Are the above kayaks easily overturned? A: The tourer kayaks used are specially designed for recreational and expedition purposes. They are very stable and designed to carry equipment. If you do not engage in any horseplay, the chances of overturning the kayaks are negligible. Q: If a pupil is medically unfit, can he/she be excused from the expedition? A: Certainly, but he/she needs to obtain a medical certificate or letter from the doctor to certify that he/she is medically unfit to participate in the expedition. The medical certificate or letter is to be given to their form teachers for documentation purposes. Q: Can my child/ward be excused from the expedition for other personal reasons? A: Do write a letter addressed to the Principal of Hougang Primary School and explain the reasons for your request. The Principal will look into your request and you will be informed of the outcome. Q: Are the pupils insured? A: Yes, all pupils are insured under the NTUC Income Student Protection Plan. Q: Will there be any place for the Muslim pupils to perform their prayers? A: Yes, they will be informed of the location of the room and the direction of the „Kiblat‟ at the campsite. Groundsheets will be provided. They will be required to bring the other items necessary for their prayers. ACCOMODATION Q: Where will the pupils be sleeping? A: All pupils will be sleeping in 4-men dome tents. Q: Will pupils of the opposite sex share their accommodation? A: No, all members of the opposite sex are not allowed in each other‟s accommodation at all times. SAFETY & RISK ASSESSMENTS Q: What are the safety precautions the school takes into consideration? A: The safety and welfare of our pupils are our topmost priority. Prior to the conduct of the expedition, the Expedition Leader (Teacher-in-charge) will co-conduct a feasibility study with the hired operator (Manager of Water Venture) into details of the activities based on the MOE Risk Assessment Management System (RAMS) as we strive for a zero accident of serious nature. The Expedition Leader covers all the aspects required in the detailed and compulsory MOE RAMS form, which includes weather inclement and contingencies. Appropriate land and sea reconnaissance were conducted. The activities are carefully planned, tested and assessed accordingly. Prior to the expedition, all pupils would have undergone a minimal of 10 weeks of Outdoor Adventure Education modules during their PE lessons. They are taught outdoor skills, safety procedures and how to manage risk in the outdoors. Equipped with these skills, they would be able to participate in the expedition in a safe, enjoyable and constructive manner. Q: Is the vendor conducting the expedition reliable? A: Yes, the school has engaged an established sea sports operator, Water-Venture (Pasir Ris), formerly known as PA Pasir Ris Sea Sports Club (PRSSC) to conduct the Kayaking Expedition. PA Sea Sports Clubs have been an icon for sea sports activities in Singapore with more than 30 years of experience and good track records. They conduct courses and activities for kayaking, canoeing, dragon boating, sailing, windsurfing and powered pleasure craft. The staff are professionals and they looked into the risk assessments & safety precautions need for the specific activities. Our teachers will also be actively involved in the supervision of the activities to ensure that safety is not compromised. Q: Is the route for the expedition safe? A: Yes. With pupils kayaking close to the coast, you can find shipping ports along the stretch of waterway and a high level of fishing activities in this area. There is a Police Coast Guard Security Post and a Police Coast Guard Base nearby where assistance can be rendered within minutes. The area is also well patrolled by the Police Coast Guard boats and the Maritime Port Authority (MPA) boats. Q: Will the pupils be paddling very far away from the shore? A: No, they will be paddling close to the shore. Q: Will the expedition be cancelled due to the current water quality situation at Pasir Ris beach? A: No, we have factored in the current water quality situation into the planning and contingency plan for the expedition. We will be following closely the guidelines adopted by NEA and will act accordingly. This year, participants will embark on their expedition from Changi and they will have minimal contact with the water at Pasir Ris. Q: Have emergency evacuation plans been developed? A: Yes, the school has made the necessary discussions with the vendor, Water-Venture (Pasir Ris) pertaining to the various possible emergency evacuation scenarios that may arise. We will be adopting the existing Water-Venture (Pasir Ris) Standard Operating Procedures pertaining to any emergency evacuations. Parents/guardians will be informed accordingly soonest possible if such plans are activated. Q: Are there alternative shelters in case of inclement weather? A: Yes. The Expedition Leader together with the Managers of Water-Venture (Pasir Ris) and Water-Venture (Changi) have conducted the reconnaissance for the complete expedition route. They have identified alternative shelters on the main land for possible landing site and to seek refuge in case of inclement weather. Q: Have tide-tables been checked for the appropriate time to conduct the activity? A: Yes, the Expedition Leader together with the Managers of Water-Venture (Pasir Ris) and Water-Venture (Changi) have consulted the Singapore Tide Tables pertaining to the area and time of operations. They have factored in the tidal conditions, strength and direction of the currents and will maximize their use to the advantage of the expedition team. Q: Have provisions been made for safety boats to accompany the expedition? A: Yes, there will be at least three safety boats to cover safety and to provide any form of logistical support. Q: Is there any medical team throughout the 2 days? A: Yes, all trainers are first-aid and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certified. There will also be a 24hrs Standby Vehicle for emergency evacuation purposes. EMERGENCY Q: Whom do I call in case of an emergency situation, where I need to reach my child/ward soonest possible? A: You could call Water-Venture (Pasir Ris)/ Water-Venture (Changi) at 6582 4796/ 6545 1140 or fax: 6581 5781/ 6545 8897 respectively or call Hougang Primary School General Office at 6489 7445. Please identify yourself and your child‟s/ward‟s name and class and then inform the staff the state of emergency. The staff will then call the Expedition Leader who will contact you soonest possible. It would be appreciated if you do not call the above emergency numbers to check how your child/ward is doing as the lines are for emergency situations only. Do take note that your child/ward is in the good hands of the trained trainers and caring teachers. TIMING Q: Has the start/stop timing for each phase of the activity been carefully planned for? A: Trainers will take note of the group‟s performances and will make the appropriate start/stop/rest based on the situations/scenarios and the location of the group. Q: Have precautions been planned for in case of delays in timing? A: Yes, Trainers will make the necessary decisions based on the timeline of the programme and on the situations / scenarios and the location of the group. WEATHER Q: Has the weather forecast been checked? A: Water-Venture (Pasir Ris) staff and the Expedition Overall-In-Charge will monitor the weather forecast for the respective days, taking into consideration the tidal conditions and will make the necessary plan to execute the expedition in the most effective manner. Q: Are procedures in place to manage the group in inclement weather? A: Yes, the trainers are trained and well versed to deal with and manage the group in inclement weather. Q: Has a “Wet Weather Programme” been planned for? A: Yes, there is a “Wet Weather Programme” in place. Q: Have precautions been planned for the possibilities of lightning and storm? A: Yes, in case of lighting and storm, Trainers will make the judgment call based on the situations/scenarios and the location of the group and will take shelter at the appropriate alternative shelters. Q: Have precautions been planned for the following possibilities? -heat related exigencies, e.g heat exhaustion, heatstroke; -hypothermia (abnormal low body temperature); A: Yes, all trainers are First Aid and CPR certified. In case any of any medical conditions, the Trainers will make the necessary assessment and will decide on the actions to be taken based on pupils‟ condition. They will then activate the emergency evacuation plans appropriately. ELECTRONIC GADGETS, GAMES & CASH Q: Are pupils allowed to bring handphones? A: Yes, but we would deter pupils from doing so to minimise theft. Pupils who bring their handphones will be required to hand them over to their teachers on the first day of the expedition for safe keeping. Their handphones will be returned to them on the last day of the expedition (before breaking camp). Q: If pupils are not allowed to bring their handphones, what will happen in emergency situations? A: If an emergency situation arises and a pupil needs to call their family member, the pupil is to inform the trainer or teacher and explain the situation. The trainer or teacher will then assist accordingly. Q: Are electronics games allowed? A: No, this is to minimise theft. Pupils who bring electronic games will be required to hand them over to the teachers for safekeeping. The games will be returned to the pupils at the end of the expedition. Q: Are other games allowed? A: No, as they will making logistical support difficult. Q: Do pupils need to bring along extra cash? A: All meals will be provided for and there will be no gift/provision shops available at the campsite. Hence, they will not require any cash during the duration of the expedition. Form/substitute teachers will also be collecting their wallets, valuables and handphones on the first day of the expedition. These items will be returned to them on the last day of the expedition (before breaking camp). CAMPSITE VISITATION Q: Are parents/guardians allowed to visit their child/ward? A: The expedition will provide young people with the opportunity to participate in a series of experiences, which develop their personal, social and environmental awareness. The experience of living away from home for a short time is especially significant for them, and there is great potential for contribution to the development of the whole child. The away from home, school and parents experience offers a unique opportunity through full participation, to encounter the practical realities of living away from home and family, and away from immediate and familiar surroundings. Correctly handled, the expedition is an extremely valuable experience. It will also cultivate in an individual willingness to venture into unknown territories/frontiers. Hence, we would advise parents/guardians to refrain form visiting their child/ward to facilitate the above learning experiences to take place. Q: Can parents/guardians call to check on their child/ward? A: To facilitate the learning experience, we would deter parents/guardians from making any calls to the child/ward. Pupils will be well taken care of by the trainers and teachers. If there is any slightest sign that a pupil is unwell, the trainers and teachers will speak to the pupil and monitor them closely. If the pupil needs immediate medical attention, parents/guardians will be informed and the pupil will be sent immediately to the nearest clinic or to Kandang Kerbau Hospital where there is a paediatric department specialized in the treatment for children. ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS Q: When is the last date for submission of consent forms & payment? A: (Please refer to letter given to pupils). Q: What happens if pupils have financial difficulties? A: If pupils have any difficulties, do inform the form teacher. They will do their best to assist the pupils accordingly. The school will also assist all pupils who are under the Financial Scheme. Their respective form teachers know who these pupils are and payment for them will be made through the School‟s Opportunity Fund. Q: Where do I pose other questions that have not been addressed above? A: If you have any questions, do email Mr. Kassidy at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will revert to you soonest possible.