I recently went on a training day through my work. I spent a gloriously sunny day at Caswell beach in the Gower, South Wales. It’s a stunning beach where we, as a work unit, regularly surf and coasteer. But my visit was slightly different this time. The course was all about the promotion of Beach Schools.
Its’ aim is to bring children out of their classrooms and into nature, where they can learn about, and appreciate nature, within the environment. It was a brilliant day. I came away with a wealth of knowledge of sea life, learned some new, fun (and cheap) games for children to play on the beach, incorporating sensory activities, beach art and, most importantly,.. the joy of rock pooling.
I remember, as a child, spending hours exploring rock pools when the tide was out at my local beach. Waiting patiently, expecting to find huge crabs; always finding unusual and colourful shells which were shoved into pockets for “trading” later on in school. Always, the while, thinking that it was daring to leap from one rock to the next to avoid whirls of incoming tidal sea water.
With this in mind, I took my daughter to a nearby beach to pass on everything I had learnt from my course. It was a sunny, but slightly windy day, but that didn’t deter us as we loaded the car with buckets, spades and our nets. Off we went to Llantwit Major, where my father knew of a great rocky stretch which wasn’t too busy and was a great place to explore.
We arrived just as the tide went out, leaving us with perfect conditions for rock pooling. As we started exploring the pools of crisp, clear, salty water, I started to tell my daughter about the different animals she could find, about the different shells and what animals could have lived in them. I explained how there where so many varietys of seaweed. It was fantastic. She was so interested in this simple activity. We jumped from rock to rock, exploring each pool and identifying shells and animals trapped within.
I was so happy in her enthusiasm. It was great experience, as through her sense of exploration, my mother and father, (who had “tagged along”!!), also became engrossed in searching for good rock pools and I could regularly hear them calling for my daughter to “come and see what I’ve found”.
We spent nearly three hours at the beach. We came away with a great collection of shells and a hunger for a slice of Victoria sponge and a steaming mug of hot chocolate, bought from the beach’s quaint, old-school cafe, selling homemade cakes, which was another amazing bonus.
What a great way to spend a Sunday. My daughter went to school the next day with stories of her adventures, her shell collection and lots of facts about sea life.
In an age of computer games, “Kindled” novels, DVD’s and smartphones, it was fantastic that this simple activity could engage my little girl in such deep exploration of her environment. More importantly, it was amazing to watch her grand-parents…… my OWN mum and dad, revisit activities that were such a huge part of their own childhood activities and development.
This weeks’ question, dear reader, is what was the thing that bridged the generation gap for you, and your kin. What happened. Was it a momentus thing, or did it go unnoticed by others, except for you and your young ones.