Beach School: An opportunity for ‘Heavy Work’

Since Term 3, 2020, our CEO and co-founder Daniel Burton has been working alongside Scotch College as a part of the FORM Creative Schools program. Throughout this program, Daniel’s role as a Creative Practitioner has been to support the implementation of alternative pedagogies – exploring creative ways to provide authentic, innovative learning opportunities for students. Daniel’s experience and passion as a Nature Pedagogue and Outdoor Classroom Specialist provided the springboard to explore an extension to the school’s existing nature focused ‘Bush School’ experience. This resulted in Beach School – a regular excursion to spend class time at the beach.

Heavy work is incredibly important for children’s physical, cognitive and social emotional development.

Beach School provides opportunities for the students to use their bodies in ways that exert pressure on their joints and muscles to support the development of strong bodies, as well as develop a sense of where their bodies are in space. Cognitively, children develop problem solving skills and executive function through finding solutions and using trial and error to complete a seemingly simple task, like carrying a bucket full of heavy sand and water. Experiences that involve heavy work are often easier to complete with the help of a friend and so socially, children develop ways to collaborate and work together. Emotionally, this heavy work challenge provides a chance to face disappointment, explore failure, overcome difficulties and persevere with tricky tasks.

This video highlights a common occurrence at Beach School – the collection of the building material ‘hard sand’. This is the description given to the sand that has water in it (or in this case the water that has sand in it) that allows the particles of sand to ‘stack on top of each other’ (because dry sand simple ‘cascades off each other’). However, ‘hard sand’ is heavy and requires teamwork and persistence.

Beach School provides opportunities for full body learning that is just not possible indoors. Our learning environment is ready made with resources, experiences and inspiration that extend learning, challenge bodies and inspire the mind!

“Pulling a wagon with another child in it, picking up heavy rocks to build a dam in a stream, and digging in the dirt or the sane are great ways to get nice sensory input to the joints, muscles and connective tissues. Heavy work helps to develop a strong and capable proprioceptive system.” Angela Hanscom, Balanced and Barefoot

You can read more about what Daniel is up to on Scotch College’s blog.