seashore school

seashore-schoolWe are also located close to Douglas beach and use this local resource as a fantastic vehicle for outdoor learning. The concentration and involvement from the children is amazing and we find the children are very creative and imaginative when encouraged.

Our sessions focus on different themes such as “What is sand?”. The children make their own sand by crushing two stones together and on a dark piece of material to see what they made. The children discover that all the stones are different, some heavy, some light, some had stripes and some were sparkly. Towers are built with the stones and the children work out that the heavier and flatter stones are better used at the bottom for stability.

In some sessions the focus is mathematical. The children are able to look at shape, weight and size. Other sessions are art based, making sand sculptures and making moveable art by gathering natural objects from the strandline and photographing some of the results. The children look at sand sculpture designs using the internet and look carefully discussing which ones appeal the most and how they have been made.

We investigate the strandline, the area where the tide deposits debris. Seaweed forms the bulk, but there can also be litter washed ashore too. Happily we find very little litter, but we discuss the importance of clearing away our litter from the beach as it can pose a threat to wildlife. We look for interesting and colourful shells and discussed the fact that they were once the home of shellfish. We also investigate the varied, beautiful and interesting types of seaweed.

A rock pooling trip was led by Kath Smith of the Manx Wildlife Trust. She kitted us out with buckets and nets and we set out to investigate the strange and beautiful seashore creatures that inhabit rock pools. We found shrimps, sea snails, hermit crabs, edible crabs, limpets, and also looked at the beautiful shapes and textures of the green, brown and red seaweeds. We discovered that a rock pool is a natural world in miniature – a habitat where plants and animals live together.
Not all our Seashore school is at the beach though. One of our sessions involves a visit to the fish counter at Shoprite. We listen and learn all about how fish came from the sea, rivers and also about sustainable fishing. One time the children were also given a mackerel and octopus tentacle to bring back to nursery to have a look at and show the other children.