Exploring our ocean-hugging treasure-house brings joy and wonder
Beachy Kindy is a core component of the Clovelly Childcare Centre curriculum. Our children experience a sense of wonder as they walk barefoot on the sand, paddle in the ocean, examine tiny rock creatures, and watch fish and whales amidst a landscape of shifting shades and colours. The beach is a magical environment, with Nature a captivating teacher.
There is a riskier element to play when children walk down neighbourhood streets with their teachers, learn to cross roads safely, and develop grit as they cover 1km to the place where the waves crash and the seagulls cry. On the way, they discover local flora and fauna, and say hi to local residents whom they meet them on the street or over garden fences. They also walk past picture-perfect cafes and art galleries.
On the beach the children clamber over rocks, discover crabs in waterholes and captivating rock formations. They enjoy lying on their backs, spreading their arms and legs, and making angel patterns in the sand. Paddling in water, they might see migrating whales, frolicking dolphins or a large shoal of famed Clovelly gropers darting in ocean packs.
Wild bush trees line the sides of the beach. The children love to climb these and jump from the branches onto the soft sand, feeling free and brave.
Clovelly Beach is on Bidjigal and Gadigal land. After some playtime, we gather together and acknowledge the ownership of the land. Children are taught to recognise how elders past and present have cared for the land. Our children are inspired to join the efforts of future elders in protecting this idyllic and unique environment. The children pledge to remove plastic from the water, mindful of protecting wildlife from choking on plastic packets carelessly thrown by unthinking humans.
Through these activities, the children’s awareness of geographical wonder is expanded. Along with the staff accompanying them, they feel relaxed and at peace among nature’s harmonious rhythms and soothing susurrations. This is a rich meditation of sensorial magnificence.
Our Beach Kindy program began after an inspiring session at an ECEEN (Early Childhood Environmental Education Network) conference. Our initial aim was to support children with opportunities to develop their executive functioning skills by providing wider opportunities of play beyond our centre’s playground. Timetabling a visit once a week to a beach close by would enable our children to develop all-important risk-management skills.