It’s an exciting Back to School season for Westbourne Prep, as a brand new Beach School concept is introduced across Nursery through to Year 5.
The coastal cousin of the forest school, Beach School is a natural fit with Westbourne’s incredible location on the Glamorgan coastline…but what is exactly is it…and how will it help your child learn?
We explore the concept and uncover some of the benefits our young pupils will gain this term…look our for many more updates throughout the term.
With its origins in the Danish approach to Education, which highlights the importance of children having contact with nature from an early age, Beach School is incorporated in schools curriculum, enhancing subjects already being taught, such as geography, maths and science, with hands-on exploration. Designed to be a thoroughly inspirational process, Westbourne’s Beach School will offer children regular opportunities to develop confidence through hands-on learning in an outdoor environment.
Backed up by British research, even the government has stated that ‘‘there is strong evidence that good quality learning outside the classroom adds much value to classroom learning’’. The Office for Standards in Education explains that ‘‘outdoor education gives depth to the curriculum and makes an important contribution to students’ physical, personal and social education’’.
As a complement to traditional education, it can develop a number of key skills and characteristics in a child.
The simple answer is lots of core skills! Including:
Beach schools are a great way to create resilience and develop children ready to answer their own questions, as the images show from our first Beach School sessions, independent exploration, albeit within a safety assessed setting, has been extremely popular with young pupils.
Learning outdoors encourages all children to take well thought out risks, developing confidence and character…skills that become increasingly essential in life.
The classroom also isn’t for everyone…some children who may feel their skills are not as well suited for an academic environment are presented with an opportunity to shine in the great outdoors, this often then transfers confidence back into the classroom.
Gathering rocks, understanding fossils, working out forces, all of these simple beach explorations involve a great deal of communication. As our very first sessions showed, with creating an outdoor shelter, the beach environment presents multiple opportunities to engage a child in group activities, all excellent ways to develop their social skills. Even the change in surroundings alone can greatly help a shy child to become more approachable.
Motivation and Concentration
Fresh air, exercise and focused activities…we all know the benefits for ourselves, our aim is to ensure pupils have this opportunity too. Learning skills and play activities, developing the ability to focus on specific tasks and concentrate for extended periods of time.
Picking up a tiny shell, lifting a piece of driftwood from the beach – fine motor skills, stamina and gross motor skills are naturally developed without children even realising. Children learn the effective use of tools and the ability to make structures and objects.
Knowledge and understanding
A new found understanding and appreciation for nature with the ability to make new observations and identify different species.
Mrs Edwards, Reception Teacher and Beach School Leader has sent us the latest Beach School report… “It was year one’s turn to start their beach school journey this week and they had a wonderful time, with perfect weather!! They began their session by finding items to use for a counting task, adding up in 2’s, 5’s and 10’s. They were quickly distracted and engrossed with investigating all that the shoreline had to offer from building damns and discovering small creatures.”