Learning from nature

Aditi Mathur and Ratnesh Mathur

There is something so salubrious, so profound, so relaxing, so egalitarian, so genuine and simple about sitting under a tree and studying that I wonder why all classes are not conducted under the umbra of life.

Is it then sad that we teach children about birds, rivers, machines, forest, people, all sitting inside a room? This article is not about giving you a lecture on taking children out. We all know it, yet we work within commonly known constraints.

Since it’s not so practical to take children out into nature, this article is about bringing the very essence of nature intelligence into the classroom and using this intelligence to make learning in any subject/topic more “natural”.

tree The bird asked nobody in particular, “So what’s in the big box out there?”
“Children”, the tree replied.
“Children! Why on the earth will they put children in a big box?” the bird was rather surprised.
“It’s a classroom. They are in it learning. It’s part of their schooling, education, you know.”
“And what do they learn about?”
“Well… anything, actually”. After a moment, the tree added, “In fact, they could be learning right now about birds and trees.”
The little bird was now quite confused, “But why would they learn about us, sitting in that big box? Why can’t they come out and just meet us?”
The tree replied patiently, “That’s not for me to know. I too have wondered about that. I often see little longing eyes peeping out of the windows. But I do know that they have books with nice colourful pictures of the likes of you and me, and they have a teacher who knows and tells them a lot about us. You see, this way they are able to amass a lot of knowledge in a short time.”

The authors run Geniekids, a learning centre in Bangalore that works with children. To know more about their work visit www.geniekids.com.

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