How to make a booking and other questions frequently asked by teachers
Q. Are the Brother Brennan Centre programs related to the curriculum?
A. Yes, all programs are curriculum related. The outcomes are attached to the program description. Many health, physical education and music outcomes are not listed because they are woven into the fabric of the program in the form of games, hikes and campfire.
Q. How many students can the Centre accommodate?
A. The Centre has 62 bunks for students and 6 for visiting adults plus. There are also a few spare mattresses for extra students or adults. In order to be economically viable we try to operate with at least 50 visiting students i.e. we try to accommodate 2 or 3 classes at a time.
Q. How do I make a booking?
Q. Is the deposit refundable?
A. The deposit will be taken from your final payment. It is refundable if you cancel more than 4 weeks before your booking. With only 4 weeks notice the deposit is not refundable because it is unlikely that another school will be able to step up to take your booking date.
Q. What is the cost?
A. The cost is $50 per student. This includes all meals, accommodation and 2 days of programming. The School Board subsidizes the program to keep the cost to this affordable price. Transport is extra.
Q. How and when do we pay?
A. Bring a cheque with you made out to “The Environmental Education Commission”. The cheque should be for $50 x the number of students you booked for, less $300 deposit. Please don’t add the cost of the bus cost to this cheque. The bus company will bill you directly.
Q. What transport do we use to get to the Brother Brennan Centre?
A. If your school is located in the Metro Region and other regions in close proximity then buses will be organized for you. We have tenders in place for these schools. All other schools must organize their own transport.
Q. I am in the Metro Region and other regions in close proximity, what is the cost of transport?
A. Each bus can take up to 40 students with their gear. The cost is $350 per bus for St John’s/Mt Pearl, $330 for CBS as far north as Villanova, $393 for Torbay, Portugal Cove, Pouch Cove, Outer Cove, $550 for Trepassey and Ferryland and $350 for Mobile – Witless Bay. HST will be extra.
Q. What time will the bus arrive to take students to the Centre and what time will it return students after their visit?
A. If we organize the bus it should arrive at your school at about 9am and return back there at about 6.30pm the following evening.
Q. If I organize transport what time should we arrive and plan to leave?
A. We prefer schools to arrive between 10 and 11 am, but realize this isn’t possible for all schools. If you expect to arrive later than 11.30 am, please let us know. Be aware that the final 13km to the Centre are on dirt roads and you should plan to allow 30 minutes for this section of your trip. Most schools leave at about 5pm the following day after a simple supper. If you need to leave at a different time, please let us know so that we can plan meals accordingly.
Q. Are there any other options than a 2 day/1 night visit?
A. The 2 day/1 night visit works well, but occasionally a school makes an alternate request well ahead of time and we try to accommodate that into the schedule
Q. What do I have to do to prepare for a visit?
Q. How can I prepare my students?
A. Research has shown that students get more out of field trips if they know what to expect. If you have been to the Brother Brennan Centre before you will know what to say. If you haven’t been there here are a few helpers.
Q. There is a child in my class who has severe allergies. Can he/she come?
A. Students with severe allergies can visit the Brother Brennan Centre if the/parent guardian feels that adequate measures are in place to protect the child. There are extra forms (see ‘school forms’) for these parents/guardians to complete. Send their contact information to Bill Tucker who will arrange to meet or speak with them.
Q. How many adults do I need to bring?
A. There must be a ratio of at least 1 adult for every 10 students in grade 5 to 9 and 1 adult for every 12 students for High School. The Brother Brennan Centre will always have 2 adults available. Depending on your group size and whether any other groups will be visiting at the same time you may be able to count one or two of these adults in your ratio
Q. What is expected of me and the other adults at the Centre?
A. One of the first things we do when students arrive is explain our rules and expectations. This immediately helps students know what they can and can’t do. Program staff are usually very busy delivering programs, planning, preparing or cleaning up and therefore visiting adults are expected to:
Q. There is a child in my class with behaviour problems; I’m reluctant to bring the class because of him/her.
A. Only you can decide this. However please be aware that many teachers are pleased to find that certain student’s behaviour improves when they are out of the confines of the school classroom and in the woods. The active nature of the program at the Brother Brennan Centre suits many students who are sometimes disruptive and this trip gives them a chance to shine. The only kinds of students we discourage you from bringing are those who may try to run away. The danger of such a student getting lost is very real. Also we discourage you from bringing students with severe behavioural issues who may deliberately harm themselves or others.
Q. There is a parent who wants to accompany their child; can he/she come too?
A. Some children with special needs need extra help; we welcome extra adults to support these students. For other children please use your judgment. Most children are absolutely fine without their parents. If you don’t need this adult in your ratio, but think the child will not come without his/her parent then it’s ok to bring them unless we are pushed for space (there is limited space for adults to sleep). When parents accompany the group they don’t share a room with their child unless that child has a severe special need.
Q. What are the sleeping arrangements and should I decide who sleeps where?
A. Most students will be accommodated in the ‘bunkhouse’ where there is a boys’ wing and a girls’ wing. Each wing has 4 rooms with bunks for 6 students in each. Sometimes we put a mattress or two on the floor in order to accommodate everyone. If they are needed we also use two rooms in the cookhouse which have 6 and 8 bunks respectively. Normally we only put either girls or boys in these rooms, whichever there is more of. You can decide whether or not you want the children to choose who they share with. The only thing we hope for is that everyone has at least one good friend to share a room with. If a student has to sleep on a mattress on the floor we ask for a volunteer.
Q. Are there separate rooms and washrooms for adults?
A. Adults share small bunk rooms close to the student’s bunkrooms. They share washrooms with the students. If you wish for privacy, we recommend getting up early before the washrooms get busy.
Q. I’m not a camper. Will that matter?
A. The facilities are not hotel-like, but they are relatively comfortable. There is electricity, heat, hot water, mattresses on the bunks, it is all very clean indoors, someone else is doing the cooking and we have coffee! Many teachers can’t wait to return each year. They find that small discomforts are more than made up for in the opportunity to spend a couple of days in the woods getting to know their students in a different environment.
Q. What happens if there is an emergency, such as an injury, while we are at the Centre?
A. Our program staff are trained in first-aid. We also plan to have an emergency vehicle available for transporting a student if they should be hurt. Our program staff usually agrees that their cars can be used for transporting students in an emergency. However not all our staff have a car and so we may need to ask that an adult with your group bring a vehicle to be used for this purpose.
Q. There is a child in my class who requires a special diet, can he bring food?
A. It helps if they can bring food specific to their diet, such as gluten free bread, vegetarian burgers. Please consult with Bill Tucker if necessary. Those students who bring special food will be sent to meet the cooks on arrival and have their food refrigerated. There is no need for ‘picky eaters’ to bring food – the menu is designed to be child friendly!
Q. The kit list says no electronics/cell phones etc – some of my students may have difficulty with this.
A. We find that students are so busy at the centre that for the most part they don’t miss their gadgets. We do allow cameras and encourage other forms of entertainment such as soccer balls, frisbees and board games for free time and musical instruments for the evening campfire.