Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Jumbo likes it Green.

 28th July is World Nature Conservation Day. So what can kids do about it? Should it not be the responsibility of us adults? Yes it is, but maybe our generation is facing the devastation and depletion of natural resources because we took it for granted, we didn’t belong to nature and thus did not love it.
Jumbo Kids decided to take a leaf from the Te Whariki curriculum of the Government of New Zealand and instill the principles of Belonging, Family and Community, Contribution and Well Being in the celebration of World Nature Conservation day. We planned the celebrations to culminate on the 28th of July so that children have a sense of and basic understanding about what conservation of nature means to them.
We love something when it belongs to us and when it belongs to us we love it enough to protect it. This is the principle of Belonging. Nature needs to belong to children so to get that sense of belonging each child adopted a tree/plant in the school, each child gave their chosen tree/plant a special name and will say hello everyday to that tree/plant. If the child notices that something is wrong with the tree/plant then the child will seek help of an adult and ensure that the tree is ‘well’ again. Here are some examples of names given by the kids-
·         Mera ped
·         Greeny
·         Tall man
·         Leafy
·         Cutie tree
·         Fresh leaves
One can imagine how the everyday early morning school coming will now have chants of Hello mera ped! Or Hello cutie tree! A daily connection with nature indeed is achieved. Parents do ask your child to adopt a tree at home too.
The principle of Community was instilled by a discussion in our junior kindergarten classes by our 4 to 5 year olds on what are we doing that harms nature and how we can stop it.
These are the points that emerged from their discussion-
1.    Many people are throwing rubbish everywhere, even near trees.
2.    No body waters the plants on the roads; they have to wait for rains.
3.    We hurt trees by hanging tyres on them!
4.    Birds cannot sleep on trees because there are lights on them at night.
5.    Some children pluck leaves! (Not them but some children!)
Sensitivity is the core result of this discussion as it was seen that empathy towards nature was instilled. For the part about how to stop it, it was surprising that most of them wanted to write to the PM about it and 48% wanted to call up Salman Khan (Sultan) to appeal to him to straighten up those who are harming nature! We then had a discussion on how we can peacefully achieve the same!
Parents, while travelling in the car with your child do start such insightful, thinking based conversations.
The principle of Well Being was instilled with a discussion among the senior kindergarteners, 5 to 6 year olds on the importance of leaves in the life of plants and humans. How do leaves keep us all healthy? The discussion ranged from ideas like-
1.    They are the food factory of the tree/plant
2.    We need them in our burgers!
3.    Dadi needs them for decorating the door.
4.    We need spinach to be strong like Popeye.
5.    Leaves call rain, my mummy said we have rain trees.
6.    They give us oxygen.
The discussion ended with the teacher asking, should we pluck leaves and the answer was unanimous, NO, it hurts the plant/tree.
Asking the children to think about how we can reduce the use of plastic developed the principle of Contribution. Many of them are going to appeal to their parents to stop using plastic bags and some are going to pester their parents about buying steel water bottles and snack boxes instead of plastic ones!

The choice given to our schools was simple, do art activities if they help children understand about loving nature or do such thinking activities. The goal is clear, let us help children fall in love with nature so that nature belongs to them and when they grow up they don’t have to work hard to save nature, as nature would already be safe because they love it and treasure it.