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Grade 1 revisited their ‘outdoor classroom’, located currently on the sandy shores of Layan Beach. This location suits their learning perfectly as we inquire into their Sharing the Planet unit and focus on the central idea that ‘people make choices that affect the ocean and its inhabitants.

On this outing, they entered their beach classroom with a focus on Science, Literacy and Community Building. Grade 1 students learned about what it means to be an observer and used their skills to find evidence that there are living things beneath the water. In their observations, they found living animals (ghost crabs and hermit crabs), dead animals (an unlucky crab, cuttlefish), shells, holes for homes and coral.

As they finished their observations they had a surprise visit from Kru Siaji who shared a traditional tale about why animals no longer live with humans (spoiler alert…they are too dirty!) It was an engaging tale that had a poignant message about how we interact with our environment.

As the story was ending, a local spear fisherman emerged from the sea in a mask, goggles and flippers carrying a spear and a handful of cuttlefish. Students had the opportunity to meet him, ask him some questions about the sea and its inhabitants and even purchase a cuttlefish to give to our housekeeping staff as a tasty treat. How lucky they were to have had this unplanned and authentic learning experience…just one of the things outdoor learning offers that can not be re-created in our classroom at school.

Of course, they had a lot of time to have some playful fun at the beach as well. They enjoyed building their social and collaboration skills with some parachute games and playing with skipping ropes, bouncy balls and frisbees.

The weather was perfect for a morning at the beach. It made for a fantastic experience of connecting with nature, thinking about the creatures that live in the sea and building relationships with members of our community. Our students can’t wait until next week when they get to visit their ‘outdoor classroom’ again.

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