MAC Students Salt Picking Experience in Anguilla with Quest Experiences

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On Wednesday March 20th, 2024, an eagerly anticipated inaugural salt picking experience unfolded as Grade three students, accompanied by parents and teachers from the Methodist Agogic Centre in St. Maarten, embarked on a memorable educational journey to Anguilla. This excursion was linked to the Social Studies topic “Industries Past and Present”. The aim was to provide a multi-faceted learning opportunity that combined elements of history and hands-on learning. 

Months of planning and coordination culminated in the departure of the enthusiastic group of 126 participants from St. Maarten to Anguilla. Parents and teachers collaborated closely to ensure all logistical arrangements were in place for an enriching experience. Excitement buzzed among the students as they boarded the vessels, Cheers and M.V. Deluxe, to embark on this educational adventure. 

Upon arrival in Anguilla, the group was greeted by local guides from Quest Experiences who provided a comprehensive orientation session. The significance of salt picking in Anguilla’s history and its role in shaping the island’s culture were highlighted. The participants were even quizzed on some comparisons between Dutch St. Maarten and Anguilla. Students, parents and teachers were briefed on safety protocols before being allowed to change into the necessary gear such as water shoes, long leggings or swim trunks for the males and long sleeve rash guards.

Led by Mr. Clemvio Hodge, Ms. Gesel Hodge, Ms. Celina Hodge and Mrs. Tamara Esdaille – Carty, the group set out to explore the sandy beach of Sandy Ground and then into the Sandy Ground pond, which served as natural classrooms for the day. As they remained in close range, students, teachers and parents were free to explore the salt pond and pick salt. Due to heavy rainfall a few days prior to the trip, the water level of the salt pond was heightened and the possibility of finding huge pieces of salt cakes was reduced.  Nevertheless, they picked and bagged some of the natural pieces of salt that were available.  The salt water in the pond was so highly concentrated that they discovered they can float when they dove in.

After exploring the salt pond, students, parents and teachers walked across the street and enjoyed a nice sea bath until it was time to return to the ferry terminal in Blowing Point. While heading back, the students eagerly shared what they learned and how they felt about the experience. Some students made mention of the opportunity to travel, as it was their first time. Others shared about the ability to enter a functioning salt pond as an unforgettable experience. Parents and teachers marveled at the depth of insight gained through this engaging learning experience.

In conclusion, the first-ever Social Studies salt picking experience in Anguilla proved to be a resounding success, uniting Grade 3 students, parents and teachers across two of the Methodist Agogic Centre Campuses.  The accompanying teachers included: Mrs. Johnicia Francis, Mrs. Fabiana Richardson – Beauperthuy, Mrs. Allison Mars – Harry, Ms. Jade Maccow, Ms. Djunathia Richardson and Ms. Shanika Gario.  All were united in a journey of discovery and exploration. Though faced with a few challenges as expected with anything else, the experience was an overwhelming success and a memorable day for the students. All teachers echoed the same sentiments about having this field trip annually. This added experience to education demonstrated the transformative power of experiential learning, bridging the gap between the classroom and the world beyond. 

Thanks to Tr. Gario and her team for coordinating such an unforgettable experience! Having taught at the Group 5 level for a few years now, Tr. Gario disclosed that this experience has always been her dream and suffice it to say, it has finally come true! Kudos to ALL!