Shoreline lessons – how beach trips boost learning

At Ness beach in Shaldon, Devon, a class of pupils from the local primary school are building shelters, reports BBC Radio 4.

“I’m pretty sure,” says eight-year-old Adam, tapping a tarpaulin roof with his spade, “that if we got stranded on an island overnight, we wouldn’t have a problem surviving – although I think I’d like an axe.”

“This is just the best day ever,” he yells as he wheels round and dashes off to look at the razor clam shells that his classmate Mabel has just put in the bucket.

Welcome to Beach School on Ness beach near Teignmouth with Shaldon Primary’s Year 4.

For the past five years, Beach Schools South West has been travelling all over Devon to enable children of all backgrounds to experience outdoor learning.

The idea is based on that of the well-established Forest Schools, where children regularly visit woods and natural spaces to learn social, technical and team-building skills and to help boost their self-confidence and sense of well-being.

“I feel like I’m in Swallows and Amazons!” cries Najeen, as Ali Murray, the Beach Schools team leader, comes to inspect the shelter they’ve built.

“We are learning today about sea safety, about pollution in our oceans, about building shelters, the environment. We speak to classroom teachers about what the children are learning in school and we just adapt. The beach is a very versatile place to take the curriculum.”

On the trudge back through nearby Smugglers Tunnel I ask a small girl who has a hole in her wellington boots and whose anorak pockets are splitting with seashells, how she’s feeling.

“Ecstatic!” she exclaims.

Read the full article Shoreline lessons – how beach trips boost learning

Have you taken your classes outside? Did you feel the pupils benefited from the experience? Do you think that they absorb and remember more information when they work outside? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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