The beach is good. So Good.
Kids learn so much at the beach… but this post won’t be about identifying sea creatures or collecting and graphic seashells… although those would be fun beachy follow ups (maybe for a later post 😉 )
This post is about all the things kids learn at the beach all on their own.
As I watched my son spin in circles carefree I realized that what he was doing was good. It was good for his soul. It was just so good. He was learning, among other things, to just be.
As I continued to watch and think, here are some things that I noticed kids around me learning and practicing.
1. How to notice. They notice things all around them. They notice the sights and the sounds. They notice these things all on their own. Sometimes they verbalize them, sometimes not. There’s something special about undirected noticing and observing.
2.How to create. Suddenly here they are in a sea of sand (and sea for that matter). What will they do? They’ll create. They’ll dig holes, imagine, build structures, knock those structures down and rebuild something new in it’s place.
3.How to cooperate. As my kids were playing they were approached by several other children asking if they could join in. Why is it in my classroom my students are always looking for an invitation (and feeling left out if they are not invited)… but here on the beach, they approach without a care. They join in and suddenly you have new friends to notice and create with.
4.How to feel. I feel like in life I (and thus my kids) are usually going 100 mph. Yes we take quiet moments together, but do we take moments to just feel? The beach encourages this so much. I watched my children take deep breaths, put their faces towards the sun, sit in the ocean and wait for the waves to crash over them. They were just feeling in this world.
5. How to just be. There is no “I’m bored” at the beach. Just being there is enough. Kids need to practice just existing in our world, free of all the structure of a typical life and classroom environment. Everything SLOOWWWSSS Down.
How can these lessons help us in the classroom?
When we have students who notice, we have students who wonder. When students practice noticing and creating on their own, in their world, they are more used to these routines. They work cooperatively and flexibly. When we give children opportunities to do these things at the beach, and elsewhere, we are encouraging learner behaviors that are good for the soul as well as building a huge set of background knowledge. Aren’t we always hearing how background knowledge is so important? And background knowledge isn’t just about knowing facts, or reading books. It’s about experiencing the world.
With that being said… we’re off to the beach 🙂