At Ness seashore in Shaldon, Devon, a category of pupils from the native major faculty are constructing shelters.
“I am fairly certain,” says eight-year-old Adam, tapping a tarpaulin roof together with his spade, “that if we acquired stranded on an island in a single day, we would not have an issue surviving – though I feel I might like an axe.”
His face is peppered with sand and the dank, snivelling sky has left his sweatshirt decidedly damp and clammy.
“That is simply the very best day ever,” he yells as he wheels spherical and dashes off to take a look at the razor clam shells that his classmate Mabel has simply put within the bucket.
Welcome to Seashore Faculty on Ness seashore close to Teignmouth with Shaldon Main’s Yr four.
You will not discover any desks, blackboards or iPads right here, however you will see a category of engaged, animated and (albeit relatively soiled), keen learners.
For the previous 5 years, Seashore Faculties South West has been travelling throughout Devon to allow kids of all backgrounds to expertise out of doors studying.
The thought is predicated on that of the well-established Forest Faculties, the place kids usually go to woods and pure areas to be taught social, technical and team-building abilities and to assist enhance their self-confidence and sense of well-being.
“Seashore Faculties South West sadly is not a day by day faculty,” explains founder and director Tess Stuber.
“However we’re a cellular seashore faculty so we will go take our programme to any seashore.
“Our ethos is about kids main themselves and never being taught or given direct instruction – and so they be taught with out realising it.”
Harry and Will are crouched on the sand pondering one of the best ways to attach their den to a freshwater provide.
On the different finish of the seashore, the women have made a washing line to hold up their jackets to dry.
They provide me a seashell stuffed with “survival sushi” they’ve created from seaweed.
One other little one and her buddy are debating whether or not to construct an extension.
“I really feel like I am in Swallows and Amazons!” cries Najeen, as Ali Murray, the Seashore Faculties staff chief, comes to examine the shelter they’ve constructed.
“You possibly can train any topic on the seashore,” says Ms Murray, as the kids watch her gentle a hearth.
“We’re studying at this time about sea security, about air pollution in our oceans, about constructing shelters, the surroundings.
“We converse to classroom academics about what the kids are studying in class and we simply adapt. The seashore is a really versatile place to take the curriculum.”
She counts out marshmallows to toast and asks the kids to work out what number of packets she might want to open if there are 17 marshmallows in every packet.
Everybody begins counting.
Yr 4’s class trainer, Susie Cairns, grins.
“The seashore simply brings studying alive,” she says.
“We have been doing tons within the classroom about plastic air pollution however on the seashore they will really see the issue for themselves and the injury it is doing.”
We’re interrupted by Ben, who races over to indicate us the plastic bottle and bag he is simply discovered on his litter run.
He is extraordinarily nervous in regards to the hurt it’d do if ingested by sea animals.
“It is surprising,” he tells us. “It is occurring all around the world.”
Ms Cairns says the kids may also be making poems primarily based on their seashore finds, and after their full-on sensory expertise, she is going to introduce them to the ideas of metaphors and onomatopoeia.
Seashore Faculties South West is a group curiosity firm and will get its funding from charitable trusts and foundations, the lottery and thru partnerships with native companies akin to South West Water.
Lots of the colleges that Seashore Faculties South West go to are in underprivileged areas.
“We work in and round Plymouth so much,” explains Ms Stuber.
“Plymouth is Britain’s so-called Ocean Metropolis, but we’re staggered by the quantity of major faculty kids, generally 80%, who’ve by no means been to the seashore, stood on the sand, heard the ocean or touched it
“It is so vital to supply these kids out of doors studying experiences.”
“Who desires to see my prickly clam?” shouts Ms Murray and the kids instantly crowd round her.
Of their haste to see the exhibit, one boy bangs into one other and he stops to apologise.
“I am seeing and listening to issues I do not see within the classroom,” says their trainer.
“The conversations, the issue fixing, friendships and youngsters actually working in groups.”
Ms Murray now runs at the least 50 seashore faculty periods a yr.
She admits the reception lessons may be tiring, however she’s by no means but had an issue with self-discipline on the seashore, even with kids who’re identified to have behavioural issues.
“The toasted marshmallows assist after all,” she laughs as she arms me a pink one.
After 4 hours below the drizzle, and a spirited rendition of the varsity tune, it is time to return to the classroom.
On the trudge again via close by Smugglers Tunnel I ask a small woman who has a gap in her wellington boots and whose anorak pockets are splitting with seashells, how she’s feeling.
“Ecstatic!” she exclaims.
Hear Emma Jane Kirby’s report dwell on Radio four’s World at One and afterwards on iPlayer Radio.