Our beach kindy experiment
Author: Amy Meatchem – Centre Director, Goodstart Mona Vale
As part of our continuous cycle of improvement, my team and I at Goodstart Mona Vale
have been keen to enable children in our centre to make genuine connections with our local community and embrace our beautiful surrounds.
We started by taking our first community walk in late 2016, which was a huge success. Community walks are now part of our weekly curriculum, offering children environments and experiences that aren’t available within the centre itself and helping them to understand how society works.
We’ve also been inspired by other Goodstart centres like Red Hill
who run amazing bush kindy programs. Bush kindy is growing movement that takes learning out into nature and encourages children to use nature’s resources to initiate learning while exploring the environment around them.
Our team is passionate about the natural environment, however after some investigation we found that getting to our nearest ‘bush’ would be quite a complex adventure to complete. We discussed alternatives that would give us the same learning opportunities, which led us back to our doorstep; the beach!
So came the day for our very first beach kindy, and we hopped on a big bendy bus headed for Newport Beach.
The children were so excited to travel by bus, many of them never having done so before. Each had their very own ‘Opal’ card to tap on and off the bus, and took care to thank the driver as we arrived in Newport.
We took our partners hands and carefully crossed the road to reach the long pathway that took us to Newport Beach. On the way, we looked at cars passing by, chatted about our past experiences at the beach and looked at the beautiful surrounding Norfolk Pine Trees.
We also kept a keen eye out for litter and collected rubbish in our very own rubbish sacks. This has been inspired by the Take Three for the Sea
initiative which promotes the simple task of picking up three pieces of litter in a bid to stop the pollution of our oceans and beaches.
We took off our shoes before clambering down to the sand. It was such a lovely spot to explore. We looked at interesting rock formations, found some flotsam and jetsam, splashed in the soft ripples of water and got good and sandy!
Some of the boys found that by digging their feet into the sand, they would slowly start to sink deeper and deeper down. Some others enjoyed digging big holes and letting them fill with water, then excitedly jumped and splashed until the water dried up, waiting to do it all over again.
The happiness and delight was priceless - the children found so much joy in this adventure and we loved watching them share in this joy with each other. The beach offered endless opportunities for play, thinking and imagination and above all it was just so much fun!
When it was time to go we hopped back on the bus (carefully tapping on and off, of course) for the return ride to Mona Vale. This trip was much quieter, with some little people taking time for a quick nap and reset.
Once we made it back to kindy, we excitedly recounted our adventures to our mates. Beach kindy was a huge success and we can’t wait for the next one.