The government has acknowledged that the risk of transmission from Covid-19 is significantly lower outdoors than indoors and it has been advising schools and educational organisations to ‘consider which lessons or classroom activities could take place outdoors.’ Schools across Europe are also advocating the benefits of outdoor education and this is becoming a mainstreamed part of current curriculum delivery in many countries.
At Beach Schools NI we believe that our work will be more valued than ever as families, teachers and children start to appreciate the benefits of outdoor education. The outdoor setting not only provides a safer teaching environment in response to the current global pandemic, but it supports mental and physical wellbeing for children, it aids group learning and creativity and it creates fun and lasting memories.
The benefits resulting from outdoor education will be needed now more than ever which means that the time is right to ‘mainstream’ the benefits of outdoor learning within teaching approaches and strategies and in our regular family pursuits.
During the Beach Schools NI family sessions planned for summer 2021 we will provide a safe outdoor environment to undertake our beach activities. The way we conduct our summer family sessions will change though. We advise that children be supported at each session by one parent only. Family groups will be socially distanced along the sand and we will not bring children onto a shared mat for example. Resources will be cleaned regularly and we will ensure good hand hygiene before and after every session.
We have also amended our timetable and will run sessions at the same venue each week, changing venues on a weekly basis.
Our need to protect the most vulnerable in society remains paramount, so if you or your child has underlying health issues we advise that you use discretion before attending a summer session.
Let’s make 2021 the year when we start valuing our beaches in a new way, as we anticipate a fun, safe and healthy season ahead.
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