Why Sunderland school's coastal classroom has had a 'huge impact' on pupils
A primary school is looking forward to returning to its own coastal classroom after noticing the “huge impact” the visits have had on its younger children.
Plains Farm Academy, in Tudor Grove, Plains Farm, Sunderland, launched its coastal school at the start of the current academic year for reception pupils.
Youngsters have visited Seaham Beach on a regular basis to take part in a series of planned activities linked to the early years education curriculum.
Activities have included making sculptures and other pieces of artwork and monitoring the differences in the area during high tides and across the seasons.
The children, who along with staff always wear hi-viz jackets, also learn about the importance of not removing items and of preserving our natural coastlines.
While the visits have understandably stopped since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the school are planning to return to the beach when it is safe to do so during the 2020-21 academic year.
Rebecca Watson, the school’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) lead and coastal school leader, said parents are fully supportive of the trips and view them as an “excellent opportunity for children to explore and appreciate their local area”.
She added: "Since starting the coastal school sessions in September I have watched the children grow in confidence and have observed them while they have managed their own risks and developed their own play.
“The sessions have had a huge impact on the children's language and communication skills and they have developed a sense of empathy for the wildlife at the beach.
“As well as constructing sand art and developing their own narratives from resources at the beach, the children have investigated rockpools and brought their observations back into the classroom to further their learning through books and technology.
“The coastal school sessions have been extremely successful and I am looking to starting the sessions again in the new academic year when the current restrictions and guidelines are supportive of this, as our children's safety is our upmost priority."
The school still has places for its nursery and reception classes for the 2020-21 year and for further information contact (0191) 5203109.