What is Beach Kindy
Beach Kind is an important program at All Star Learners and all of our Pre-Schoolers are given the opportunity to take part. As a group, we make regular visits to the spectacular Guriwal Bush Tucker Trail giving our children the opportunity to explore the bush, the different beaches and several local landmarks. Our Beach Kindy program has been carefully considered and designed with the Australian context in mind, in particularly our local Yarra Bay and La Perouse region.
Why Beach Kindy is so Important to us?
There are so many benefits to Beach Kindy, not least that it’s a fun and exciting experience for the children. However, the bush and coastline setting also provide endless opportunities to support our Learning for Life philosophy and develop children’s physical, language, social and cognitive skills.
Connecting with the World Around Us
When children see beauty in nature, they learn to respect the world around them. There are so many benefits to nature play including helping to stimulate children’s immune system, increasing the opportunity for exercise and physical activity, fuelling their imagination and improving language skills.
Children who play in natural surroundings are also more resistant to stress, have lower incidences of behavioural disorders, anxiety and depression. They have a higher sense of self-worth and develop more positive feelings about each other. A strong sense of calm is achieved during and after Beach Kindy visits, which helps children maintain a positive self-concept, manage their emotions and interact positively with their peers.
Opportunities for Play Based Learning
“Research shows that play based learning and spending time in nature are beneficial to children’s health and mental well-being.” (Well & Evans 2003)
The opportunities for learning during and following a Beach Kindy excursion are plentiful. The children learn about life cycles, discover and name new flora and fauna and learn about weather patterns and tides. They spend time interpreting maps and local signs showing symbols and keywords which supports literacy and discuss the food options for those who live in the bush or near the coast, for example, fishing and gathering berries.
Letting the Children Take ‘Safe Risks’
Risky play is embedded in the Beach Kindy program as well as at All Star Learners day-to-day. We believe it’s an important part of how children learn to build skills and resilience. It provides opportunities for our children to challenge themselves, test limits, explore boundaries and learn to assess their own hazards. For example, they learn to evaluate risks when climbing cliffs and trees and to problem-solve and make appropriate choices when mapping out new routes of where and how to travel.
Our Indigenous Community
Beach Kindy is an important opportunity to immerse the children in Aboriginal culture and teach them about respecting the Guriwal Country and the elders who lived on the land before us. Aunty Barbara Simms-Keeley, a respected local elder of the Bidjigal people of the Eora nation, has spent time guiding us through the references to Indigenous heritage in the Yarra Bay and La Perouse area. Her involvement and knowledge of the Bush Tucker Trail at Yarra Bay has had an important influence on the program.
When walking through the Bush Tucker Trail, we engage with the many wood carvings which depict Indigenous food, flora and fauna. We share knowledge with the children of bush medicines and bush tucker and reflect on how Aboriginal people living on Country would build their own shelters, catch their own food and live off the land.
Respecting and Caring for the Environment
Being amongst nature is a wonderful opportunity to teach our children to have respect for the environment. We encourage them to only collect or work with the objects and materials already on the ground that have fallen naturally. This includes the leaves, sticks and branches they find and only collecting shells on the beach that have no living creatures inside.
To help the children understand how to care for the environment, they are asked to only leave their footprints behind and ensure anything they bring into the setting is taken home. They are taught to care for the natural surrounds, including the wildlife and sea animals they come across.
We’re very proud of our Beach Kindy program and know it brings so much value to our children, staff and the broader community. We continue to develop it and make it an important aspect of the All Star Learners curriculum.