Innovation in education
The day begins and the teachers and children assemble at the beach, where they are reminded of the safety rules when they are near the sea. The programme changes according to the circumstances, but it includes an activity regarding sea pollution, the creation of a shelter, sand arts, acquaintance with the kingdom of marine plants and animals, lunch, then mathematics and sand games, cleaning the beach and, finally, sea songs and stories. Welcome to our Beach School.
Hellas is known for its exceptional beaches and diverse coastline, offering us the chance to use this infinite material in order to learn and play. Particularly in the southern suburbs of Athens, combined with the temperate climate, we have a wide range to choose from, any time of the year. Our school is located less than 200 m away from the beach and there are more than 20 free-entrance beaches within a distance of 5 km.
“In their classrooms, the children have created their own posters/boards that express their ideas regarding the protection of the environment. (M)’s poster reads that the sea must be full of fish and not garbage”.
Benefits for the development of children
Most people in Hellas live close to the sea and even those who don’t choose to spend their summer holidays on an island or at a seaside resort. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone knows about the richness of knowledge hidden in the Hellenic seas and beaches or the huge problems they are facing.
Our goal is to use the sea and the beaches which offer us so many unforgettable moments in order to highlight the learning opportunities they offer, the knowledge and culture they contain, as well as to teach the children how they should behave and respect them when it comes to pollution, overfishing and coastal construction.
Through our beach classes, we observe the kids and see an enormous interest in cleaning up space from plastic waste and saving the sea world from it. The benefits of the Beach School are numerous and extensive, helping the kids sleep better, have a bigger appetite for food, create stronger bonds among them outside the classroom. At the same time, their creativity is off the charts when they are at the beach. At the end of the day, their amazing descriptions about what they saw, heard, felt and learnt fills us with confidence that we should continue our Beach School
“Carefree games and endless blue. Our pupils explore the marine environment and its positive benefits on their psycho-emotional and physical state”.
When at the beach, apart from breathing in the beneficial sea breeze, the pupils have the chance to marvel at the endless blue around them.
This excursion at the beach is like a gigantic sand box that helps entertain and train the children:
- The sand can be an educational tool from which every child can benefit, regardless of its cognitive level. The infinite nature of sand play means that children can guide their own learning.
- Sand play promotes creativity, exploration and problem solving skills. It develops their cognitive skills by teaching children mathematical concepts and encouraging scientific research. It also promotes their artistic nature through creative expression.
- Sand play stimulates natural growth by developing their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, given that the children build their creations with sand.
- Through sand play, children practice their social skills as they collaborate, delegate tasks, share ideas and communicate with each other.
In conclusion, sand play is therapeutic, because it offers a haptic experience that relaxes and soothes the child. Children are free to act on their own ideas, thus building up their confidence.
The Beach School focuses on training the children through activities and games, emphasising on the local coastal environment and how they can help preserve it for the future generations. Our school has a professional 3rd level trainer and the rest of the adult participants have been trained on how to operate and conduct a beach school.
Here are some of the activities:
• How to act rationally and responsibly when at the beach
• Seaside safety rules
• Beach art
• Shelter building
• Weather phenomena at the sea and the beaches
• Cleaning the beach
• Group games at the beach
• Definition and information on various sea species of the flora and fauna
• Teaching on the environment due to pollution and overfishing
“(A) learns early on the importance of recycling and develops the sense of responsibility and environmental awareness”.
Every Friday, parents receive an email with next week’s programme that shows us the activities based on the children’s needs, their interests and talents, as well as the week’s subject. Under every activity, you can see the development stage targeted by the activity, separately for every child. We recommend that you check the programme, so that you can use it as a tool to achieve the same goals at home.
Book in time
Parents can visit during the morning hours, so that you can see our nursery school during its working hours. Therefore, parents must book an appointment in advance, since we can make only one viewing a day.
Personal support / “Open Door policy”
Our nursery has an “Open door policy” and the parents are encouraged to come for a visit if they wish, any time of the day, in order to talk about problems or issues the might be facing or to express their opinions and comments regarding the policy and procedures of our nursery. A parent questionnaire is available, which can be filled out with comments or impressions, with complete privacy and anonymity.
What parents should know
The parent-teacher children’s progress evaluation meetings are held every four months. During the meeting, the teacher talks about the child’s progress and the goals they will be working on during the following months.
It is extremely important that both the parents and the teachers exchange information on the needs of every child and collaborate with mutual respect, in order to help the child achieve the best possible educational outcome.
Every child has its own online “learning journey” that includes assessments of the children’s activities, evaluated according to the EYFS standards.
The evaluation is in written form and is based on the EYFS development matters (Communication and language, personal, social and emotional development, mathematics and expressive arts and design), showing exactly what the child has learnt and its development stage. If requested, we can provide a copy of the evaluation.
Recording observations during the early years of development is an important tool that helps write down and assess the development of children inside the classroom. We are proud to be the first school that is implementing this educational approach. Through the application called “First Steps”, the teacher can record a child’s day in the nursery, combined with a relevant photo and/or recording of observations, in order to capture their day or present a thrilling moment in the nursery.
When new parents/caregivers and their children come to our nursery for the first time, our goal is that both the parents and the children feel comfortable and welcome. One of the most important processes is the child’s adjustment period to its new surroundings. It is a very important and sentimental period both for the parents, and for the child. We follow a bespoke approach based on every child’s needs, we believe it is really important to talk and schedule the child’s daily life together with the parents, in order to achieve the best possible results and make the child feel safe and stress-free.
We realise that there is enough stress and anxiety regarding whether a child has eaten all its food or whether it is participating in social activities. Upon the parent’s request, we record these activities and present all the available material if requested.
The school provides breakfast, a snack and lunch. In case a child is allergic to an ingredient, we can provide an alternative meal and a member of the staff will watch the child in order to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.
We take great pride in our healthy menu (see department), so we invite the parents to try our food whenever they wish! They are welcome to join us and taste a sample of our meal without prior warning! This attests to our certainty that our food is delicious and of the highest quality constantly.