Fylde Beach School
Beach School on the Fylde coast is a partnership project between The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside and Park View 4U in Lytham, with support from Fylde Council.
The partnership aims to use the local coast as a platform for a whole new learning experience, in order to provide children with the opportunity to explore their natural surroundings in an organised setting.
Through a variety of games and activities, Beach School sessions aim to educate children about their local coastal environment and how they can help to sustain it for future generations.
The topics explored during beach school sessions may include:
How to behave sensibly and act responsibly when using the beach
Demonstrating how to act responsibly on the beach to ensure each others safety, and how to think sustainably to protect the wildlife that exists in this extraordinary habitat.
Exploring the natural coastal environment
- Rock pooling
- Mud dipping
- Pond dipping (in dune slacks)
- Mini-beast hunting in sand dunes
- Strandline searches
- Egg case hunts
- Seasons and tides
Pressures on the marine environment
- Over fishing
- Marine pollution and plastics
- Climate change
Species identification and information
Investigating the beach, strandline, artificial rockpools, and sand dunes to discover what types of animals and plants live in different coastal habitats, and using ID guides to correctly identify the different species.
Understanding different types of coastal habitats including beach, sand dunes, saltmarsh, mudflats, rocky shores, etc. and how species are adapted to living in conditions suitable within each habitat.
Understanding sea defences
Understanding the difference between hard and soft sea defences, examples of each, and their advantages and disadvantages. Students can debate which defence they feel is the better option, backing up their argument with facts and case studies.
How marine flora and fauna are adapted to survive in their environment
Students will learn how animals behave in certain ways in order to maximise their chance of survival in the area they call home. Student will also learn about photosynthesis and how coastal vegetation is adapted to thrive in nutrient poor conditions.
Practical conservation on the sand dunes
Students can help us undertake valuable practical conservation on the sand dunes, including:
Controlling invasive non-native species such as Japanese Rose, White Poplar and Sea Buckthorn
Repairing the dunes by thatching and filling blow-outs
Developing pathways to create recognisable access points to the beach in order to concentrate footfall in one designated area and reduce dune erosion
Planting dune grasses such as Marram, Lyme and Sea Couch Grass and using chestnut paling and other natural materials to trap wind-blown sand and create new dunes on the foreshore (and of course the famous Christmas Tree planting in the new year!)
Creating dune slacks by digging down to the water table and creating a wetland to encourage a greater diversity of wildlife
Guided walks along the beach/sand dunes
The benefits of walking on the coast are extensive.
Walking is relaxing
Research has found a child who walks is generally better at concentrating in class.
Walking improves mood
Walking outdoors is ideal for clearing the head and benefiting from natural daylight. Practised regularly and consciously, walking also contributes to developing a more positive body image.
Walking encourages learning
Walking along the coast will spark students imagination and encourage them to investigate and learn about their surroundings.
Walking encourages social skills
Walking along the coast will encourage children to talk amongst themselves outside a classroom environment and may improve their confidence in talking to others that they may not normally engage with as often.
Mini beach cleans
Doing a mini beach clean highlights the concern of marine pollution and how litter negatively affects our coastline. Students will learn how long it takes items of litter to decompose and therefore how long litter can damage the environment if it is not removed. Cleaning the beach will instil a sense of ownership for the students, encouraging a need to want to protect it in the future.
Beach cleans can also contribute to towards the conserver aspect of the Jon Muir award.
We work alongside LOVEmyBEACH to deliver beach cleanliness objectives.
Click here to learn more:
Students will learn about the wildlife that lives in the Irish Sea. The students will learn facts about the animals, including size, and features etc. to enable them to accurately create a sand sculpture of an animal that lives in our sea. The student will scavenger hunt on the strandline and collect natural materials to decorate their sand sculpture.
Students will learn what the human body requires to survive. They will learn how to adapt these requirements to survive on a desert island! Survival skills include; understanding what foods can be consumed, building shelters, fire lighting and outdoor cooking.
Within these activities children will also develop primary skills such as team working, basic instincts, confidence in an outdoor setting, emotional intelligence, social skills, and health and safety initiatives.
Our Beach School Vision
Historically, beaches have always attracted a large variety of people for a number of different reasons. Unsurprisingly, people that have easy access to their local coastline often visit on a regular basis, but what about those who cannot easily access a beach or coastal environment? We believe that every child should experience the wonders of our beautiful British coastlines. Therefore, we aim to remove this barrier and provide children with the opportunity to visit, learn and fall in love with the beach. By providing a hands-on inspirational learning environment, we are already seeing the positive effects which outdoor learning has on children.
We believe that if a child has not had the opportunity to play and learn at the beach, they will not grow up feeling a connection to their local coastline. If the next generation is disconnected from the coast, they will not feel passionately enough to want to conserve and protect it in the future.
"Beach school was very valuable in helping the children to appreciate the many aspects of the coast which they previously may not have thought about or experienced"AKS School, Lytham