Beach Kinder takes children out of the classroom and onto the sand

When your child care centre is just 100 metres from Cabarita Beach, it’s easy to see why excursions to the beach would be so popular.

At Beach Kids Early Learning & Preschool, the children enjoy sea breezes at the centre and fun extracurricular activities such as beach kinder with their friends.

Toddle spoke to Susan, an Early Childhood Educator at the campus to find out more about the popular program.

‘I love going to the beach and playing in the sand.’ – Chloe, student

What is beach kinder?

Beach Kids Early Learning & Preschool Beach Kinder Program supports children to develop and enhance self-motivation, concentration, confidence, independence, and resilience,’ says Susan.

‘The Educators use their training and experience to support the children’s learning journey just as they do with the service at Beach Kids Early Childcare Centre. Learning through play, children connect with and respect the natural environment.’

How did the idea come about?

The service wanted to make the most of their amazing position, just a stone’s throw from beautiful Cabarita Beach in Northern NSW. They also knew that the beach would offer a different after school care & learning experience than the traditional classroom.

‘Our Beach Kinder Programs feature the ever-changing coastline of the Tweed Coast and the unique native bush environment and ecosystem of the foreshore habitat,’ shares Susan.

All age groups take part in the beach activities, with the children packing up buckets and spades, balls, water, hats, sunscreen and cameras to record their adventures.

What sorts of activities do the children take part in at beach kinder?

Every visit is different for the children, says Susan, and the activities vary to include things such as:

  • Treasure hunts
  • Building sandcastles
  • Explore water safety
  • Exploration of the unique native bush environment and ecosystem of the foreshore habitat
  • Visit the local Cabarita Beach Surf Club
  • Discovery of indigenous flora and fauna
  • Sustainability

What are the benefits of this type of play?

The service understands that unstructured free play can help to facilitate the development of confident, capable, and happy children.

‘We foster a love of active learning via our early learning through play-based philosophies, and enrich children’s learning experiences by connecting them with our coastal environment,’ says Susan.

‘Many children take delight in collecting seaweed, rocks, and shells to take back to the service and their home. They use the little treasures in loose parts play throughout the week in unique and creative ways.

Visits to the beach are an excellent opportunity for language development. The teachers identify and name the coral and small fish native to the marina. Children hear and learn new words, improving their vocabulary,’ she shares.

‘The key feature is for children to spend regular, longer periods of unstructured time in natural environments.’ Susan, educator.

What do the parents think of Beach Kinder?

The centre receives rave reviews about the program. ‘As a teacher of 30 years, I am thrilled that my granddaughter, Ella, attends Beach Kids Early Learning and Preschool. A wonderful, natural beach environment to explore with play-based learning and incidental teaching, which are the cornerstones of early education. Ella loves Beach Kids and she is happy to go every day.’

– Maree, grandparent

‘The Beach Kinder program has been a wonderful initiative that has provided the children with an abundance of unique and fun learning opportunities, connections with country, environment, and educators.’

– Sam, parent