30th September 2020 — At the Perthshire school, pupils usually spend their down-time visiting museums and galleries, shopping malls and historic monuments. But strict social distancing guidance and increased complications with risk assessments have made organising these outings much more complicated.
“Striking a balance between enjoyment and safety is always a challenge,” comments Head Teacher, Dorothy MacGinty, “however, the start of this year’s autumn term naturally presented many more difficulties than usual.”
But help was at hand. In absence of retail therapy and visits to national landmarks, girls were asked for their preference to fill the time.
“We were very surprised by the answer,” said Mrs MacGinty, “they voted to organise traditional games more commonly found in playgrounds when I was a child!”
Now, at weekends, the School’s front lawns radiate to the sounds of boarding pupils playing old-fashioned favourites, Duck, Duck, Goose; British Bulldog; rounders; grandmother’s footsteps; tag and tug-o-war and all to the greater good of social interaction.
“Girls of all ages love them,” said MacGinty, “they’re laughing together, working as a team, enjoying the competitive nature without match pressure. I can’t believe I’m watching history repeat itself.”
Pupil Greta from Germany agreed with the Head: “It was just really good fun. There is a lot of space at Kilgraston so it was good to stay here and play with my housemates. I’m looking forward to playing the same games next weekend. We had a great laugh.”
Boarding pupils at Kilgraston hail from around the world and operate in ‘house bubbles’ allowing them to spend social time together.
“Immediately we noticed how well girls embraced the games when they started playing,” said Sonja Mueller, Head of Boarding at the School, “Inhibitions were lost, quickly gelling as a group.” She went on to say: “Initially, we were a little concerned that the girls might be negative about staying on campus but the games are entirely their suggestion with everyone, from ten to eighteen year olds, thoroughly enjoying these age-old activities.”