Watch pupils take part in beach clean as part of Coast School initiative

Children at five Sunderland primary schools have been swapping the classroom for the beach as they’ve been learning about the marine ecosystem and how to protect it, including taking part in a litter pick.

By Neil Fatkin
Friday, 17th June 2022, 4:55 am

Each week across the Summer term, Year R pupils from Plains Farm, Burnside, Fatfield, New Penshaw and Farringdon academies have been spending Wednesday afternoons at Seaham Beach where they’ve taken part in a range of activities including rock-pooling, creating beach art with natural materials, beach hunts and looking at history and castle construction.

The initiative has been coordinated by Early Years Foundation Lead at Plains Farm Academy, Rebecca Watson, who was today (June 5) leading a lesson on ocean pollution which included a beach clean litter pick.

After reading two stories on the beach – Clean Up and Going on a Beach Clean – the four and five-year-olds set off with their plastic bags and litter pickers to help remove plastics and other litter from the beach.

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Rebecca said: “Today the children are taking on the role of eco-warriors to help clean up the beach. I think it’s hugely important to instil from a young age the importance of caring for your local environment. When it comes to things like climate change and pollution of our oceans, they are the generation who are going to be most effected.”

During the litter pick, pupils found a range of rubbish including metals and single use plastics.

Bobbie Hutchinson-Quinn, five, said: “I’ve found pieces of metal, plastic and wrappers. It’s important to clean up the beach as if the rubbish was eaten by the wildlife it could die.”

Children from five Sunderland primary schools taking part in the Coast School initiative.

Classmate Leon Limb, also five, added: “I like coming down to the beach to learn. It’s better than being in the classroom. I’ve found lots of rubbish and it’s important to get it off the beach.”

As well a learning about and utilising the coastal environment, a key aim of the initiative is the wider development of the children’s social and language skills.

Rebecca said: “You often find that children who struggle in the classroom may thrive in an outdoor environment doing something more practical.”

Children taking part in a clean up of Seaham Beach as part of the Coast School initiative.

The five schools are all part of the Inspire Multi Academy Trust.

Children holding up two of the books they had read before taking part in the beach clean.
As part of the Coast School initiative, children from five primary schools have been spending one afternoon each week at Seaham Beach.