“Outdoor learning has been growing steadily in the UK since the Nineties, when the first forest schools began to emerge.
Inspired by the Scandinavian model, as well as home-grown traditions such as scouting, regular access to a woodland environment is said to boost not only academic performance, but also children’s confidence, self-esteem, social skills and wellbeing.
Growing numbers of schools now offer outdoor curriculum time. In many urban areas, parents concerned their children are denied the free-range childhood they themselves enjoyed, pore over school websites in search of fresh air and a modicum of risk.
With the UK fringed by more than 11,000 miles of coastline, using the beach in a similar way seems a logical progression.
Forest Schools Education created the first accredited beach school training programme for teachers five years ago. It now runs eight courses a year.”
The Telegraph 16.4.16
Beach School is an inspirational concept, providing learning opportunities through practical activities in an outdoor coastal environment. Our pupils enjoy the freedom to explore and experience the natural world in all seasons and all weathers. Here at Hythe Bay we embrace an approach of nurturing, supporting and developing the self-esteem of pupils. Fisherman’s Beach and Marine Parade Beach are both ideal environments within which to develop innovation, problem solving, risk taking, creativity and teamwork.
We appreciate and acknowledge that life can be very busy, school days busy and daily life hectic. Modern living sometimes has a sense of constant urgency, allowing little time for pause and reflection. Within our school curriculum we are proud to offer a whole school project on Wellbeing as taught lessons. Beach School enhances our whole school approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing by further emphasising the need to reflect and embrace alternative opportunities. Beach School allows pupils to experience learning on the actual beach, whatever the weather. The rain has not stopped anyone smiling yet!
Whilst considering the need to pause and “have time”, our ethos is:
We will go at the slowest child’s pace.
This promotes calm, independence, respect for each other and patience. It is undoubtedly the single best thing about Beach School.
How does Beach School impact on classroom learning and behaviour?
It may be difficult to attribute classroom behaviours directly back to Beach School, it is however conclusive that the impact can only ever be a positive one.
Beach School will:
Have an impact on behaviour, kindness, tolerance and patience. This makes transitions within the school day more manageable.
Encourage risk taking at various levels.
Promote independent thinking.
Make pupils more self-reliant.
Promote team work.
Foster a respect for the local environment.
Enhance artistic capabilities.
Build a wider vocabulary which can then be used across all subjects.
Develop an appreciation of the weather.
Allow for thought provoking conversation and debate.
Increase observational skills.
Provide boundaries and also freedom…..
Investing in People
Here at Hythe we are investing not only in our pupils, but also in our staff.
Ruth Jenkins is an Accredited Level 3 Beach School Practitioner, who works alongside a committed Beach School Team. Ray Vezey brings a wealth of experience with him. In addition, Emma Lambert has recently undergone Beach School training and will be awarded Accredited Level 3 Beach School Practitioner imminently, making this a hugely successful project.