“Having the beach on our doorstep provides a fabulous learning tool for our children. Through regular engagement with the beach environment the children are connecting with nature and developing an important awareness of our local beach habitat and how to care for it,” Melissa said. It’s hoped the regular beach visits will also teach the children about the ocean, its inhabitants, local Indigenous culture, beach safety, and sun safety.
“They will also experience the sheer joy of unstructured play in a natural environment in which their communication, imagination, active learning and physical skills are all developed,” Melissa said.
Located on the corner of Zephyr and Neptune Street in Tannum Sands, the kindy was established in 1981. Affiliated with the Lady Gowrie Community Kindergartens, there’s no better spot for an ocean-based program, with the kindergarten’s spectacular ocean views and its own rainforest.
“As time goes on we’ll be connecting with local community members who work to help our beach environment or the people who use it, such as our local surf club, wildlife carers, artists and the Boyne Island Environmental Centre. We see our Ocean Warriors Program as our point of difference for families when deciding which early childhood setting to enrol their child in,” she said.
Each group will aim to visit the beach once a fortnight, extending back into the classroom through play, art, craft, music, movement and conversations about our ocean, our beach and why the students need to protect our unique coastline.
The children will use the beach environment and the natural materials as their resources.
Kindergarten parent, Justin Costello said, “It is very exciting for our children and our Kindergarten. This is a wonderful initiative from the staff and as parents, we are excited for the extended learning opportunities the Ocean Warrior Program will provide for the children.”
Parents and teachers believe the benefits of the “Ocean Warrior” program are endless and cannot wait to see where these new learning opportunities lead.
Lorette Stebbings, Co-director and Group A Teacher praised parents for their support.
“The support and engagement from our parents have made this program possible,” Lorette said. “The feedback has been very positive with many families commenting that they are so pleased that their child is able to experience this exciting program”.