Learning Around Water

Learning Around Water

1 January 2022

We wish everyone a very happy new year!

In Aotearoa/New Zealand we are all fortunate to live close to a variety of beaches, harbours, bays, and waterways.  These environments are rich learning opportunities for children.  Firstly, there are a few safety aspects to consider such as being sun smart, coming prepared with appropriate clothing, water, sunscreen, shelter, as well as actively supervising when near water.  Once the safety aspects are addressed there is freedom in learning to be had.

Children are curious by nature which we can support by encouraging active exploration.  They may notice the details on shells, rocks, seaweed, seagulls.  Then they may notice what is present in a crab’s or eel’s natural habitat, and you could also introduce magnifying glasses or binoculars so children can focus on these finer details. Children may find sticks and draw patterns in the sand, watch as the small waves reach their toes as the tide comes in, and use a natural object found to dig a hole or make a structure.

Our language and conversations also support this learning out in nature.  We can use scientific names, open ended questioning, as well as ponder and wonder alongside children.  Questions such as “I wonder where the seagulls go to sleep”, “Let’s count how many crabs we can see”, “I wonder how deep we can dig”.  Then there are times that we should sit back and allow children independence to explore without our interruption.  The skill is in knowing when to join in and when to sit back.

Every curriculum area can be developed when exploring at the beach along with the many benefits emotionally, creatively and physically.

Take care around all water, actively supervise children, and have fun over our Summer months!