We’re from Broadbeach Kindergarten, and wanted to share with the Nature Play QLD community a new outdoor classroom initiative we’ve introduced, that is a direct reaction to the ‘bubble wrapping’ of children that has occurred over the last decade. It’s called The Ocean Warrior Program, and is particularly exciting with Outdoor Classroom Day QLD just around the corner!
What we do
We are a Gowrie community kindergarten situated on the beachfront on the Gold Coast. We visit our beach regularly, raising awareness, teaching the children about our ocean, its inhabitants, local indigenous culture, the beach, the waves, surf safety, and why we should protect this resource by extending their skills and interests as well as challenging the children in all development areas.
We want to support children to have a feeling of freedom, allowing children to learn through being adventurous while managing risk, and to facilitate a sense of place and belonging.
The beach environment and natural materials become the resources that the children will use to engage their learning. In this way, it is similar to the ethos of Forest Learning.
We are hoping to see the direct link to more collaborative learning that can take place within nature, for our children to link to ownership of the land and to become more self-sufficient in their play whilst having the opportunity to extend their sense of risk and to assess that risk through experience and competence.
In the classroom
This program also extends easily back into the classroom through our language sessions, science, art and craft, music and movement, small world play, as well as discussions and conversations about our ocean and why we all need to be ocean warriors and protect our amazing coastline.
A community of helpers
We are also very lucky to have access to some engaging, skillful, and knowledgeable professionals who have offered to share their passion with our children about the ocean. This will complement our regular beach visits.
Bede Durbidge - one of the best professional surfers in the world, Bede currently competes in the world surf tour, and is a passionate advocate for teaching the next generation about his workplace - the ocean!
Marayka Gulin - a marine biologist, with 10 years experience working at SeaWorld, and a science and maths teacher. Marayka heard about our ‘Ocean Warriors’ program and was keen to be involved. She is dedicated about protecting our ocean and excited to share her knowledge and expertise with our children about the ocean’s inhabitants.
SLSQ - We welcome Akitsu Long from Broadbeach Surf Club who is working with our children and will educate them about surf safety and the nipper program. Akitsu will put in place a junior Nippers program with our children, which will then be followed up with regular sessions on the beach.
GCCC Lifeguards - we will meet up regularly with the local lifeguards at the beach, including the chief Gold Coast lifeguard, Warren Young
Gretchen Durbidge - our resident horticulturist and gardening guru, Gretchen looks forward to extending this learning to our Ocean Warrior program with education about dune protection and care of our beach foliage.
Uncle Boomerang aka Paul Craft - our local indigenous educator, Paul will share his knowledge and interest in beach / bush tucker, and local ocean dreamtime stories.
Gold City Council Library Services - Broadbeach Library will be extending our regular library visits to “Stories in the Sand.” Our librarian will join us on our beach excursions to read, rhyme and relax together.
Green Heroes - a new educational project to teach children about protecting our environment and safeguarding our beaches for all ocean life.
Ky Hurst - ironman, champion swimmer, and kindy dad is running an exercise and skills program on the beach. The children are playing ball games, running and exercising. Ky is encouraging the children to use their bodies in a physical way and showing them the benefits of keeping healthy and active.
Local Police - the local police paid us a visit while we were on the beach a few weeks ago. They took all the children for a ride in the police buggy, up over sand dunes, down into the water and up onto the beach path! Talk about exciting!
The children benefit physically, emotionally, and mentally from contact with the beach in an educational setting. These benefits include:
- Developing an environmental identity and consciousness.
- Different ways of moving, which improves coordination.
- Risk taking – children are more likely to develop responsible attitudes toward risk if they have experience dealing with risky situations.
- Problem solving – children are more likely to encounter opportunities for decision making that stimulate problem solving and creative thinking because the beach and outdoor spaces are often more varied and less structured than indoor spaces.
- Socialisation – much of play is social and play promotes learning about vital social skills such as turn- taking, sharing, negotiation and leadership.
- Instilling a sense of wonder and stimulating creativity, imagination and symbolic play.
- Supporting a child’s sense of self and recognising independence, interdependence and connectedness with their ecological worlds.
- Developing a relationship with their ocean environment and special outdoor places.