Head's Blog - Beach School

Posted on: 01 Feb 2022

We were delighted to feature in the Spring 2022 edition of the Independent School Parent magazine.

The air is crisp, and the sound of the waves gently crawling up the vast expanse of sand can just about be detected under the contrapuntal chatter of seabirds and Pre-Prep children. At Prebendal, Beach School is a prominent feature of the school timetable and loved in equal measure by staff and pupils.

Children enter this world perfectly designed to navigate their own learning; nature equips them with eagerness, playfulness, sociability, an interest in the world around them, and they desire to grow up to be like the older children they encounter. The evidence for this is obvious to anyone who has watched a child grow from birth up to school age: through their own endeavours, children learn to roll, crawl, sit, stand, walk, run, jump, climb, and laugh at themselves when they don’t get it right first time. From before they are born they start to learn a language, and with that they learn to assert their intentions - to enquire, regale, irritate, captivate and quarrel.

Through what seems like relentless questioning to us adults, and the clumsy exploration of their environment, they acquire an enormous amount of knowledge about the social and physical world around them, and through play they practice skills that promote their intellectual, physical, social and emotional development. They do all this long before anyone attempts to teach them anything.

This amazing drive and capacity to learn does not turn itself off when children start at nursery or school, but it can certainly show itself in different ways once in a classroom environment if those opportunities for learning through play are not put to good use. Increasingly, outdoor play is such a valued ingredient in those first few years of school. At this age, it’s crucial for children to view their education as an opportunity to continue to explore their world so they continue to be inquisitive and enthusiastic. The best learning environments make the most of a child’s natural curiosity, ensuring their gusto for learning can persist all the way through childhood, the teenage years, and even all the way into adulthood.

Beach school, for our pupils, is the perfect opportunity to make links between theory they have learnt inside a classroom and connecting it to a real-life experience in nature. Whether they are counting shells, making maps out of seaweed, or witnessing the litter that has washed up on the beautiful beach (and thinking of their own solutions to prevent it from happening), Outdoor Learning is something that helps our children to continue discovering their world with fervour and passion.


To read the full article, please go the the online edition: