To encourage the teachers to go beyond the books and to use the wonderful local environment, to make learning interesting and increase spoken English vocabulary, we have incorporated a series of projects which are designed to enhance awareness of Nature & Culture. They enable children to observe, and understand various facets of the local community.
Children’s projects comprise awareness of flowers and fauna, Farm animals, Art form from natural objects, sowing and harvesting of paddy and other crops, Cultural diversity and customs of the community. After the field visits, children make a book in which the entire process is illustrated by compositions on the computer, drawings and photos, with captions.
Some of the projects undertaken by the children are: -
Agriculture and Environment: Children witness and participate in sowing and harvesting of traditional crops such as Millet, Maize, and Paddy. Village elders tell them about each crop.
Cultural panorama: Children visit Hindu Nepali, Lepcha Christian, and Buddhist homes, to learn about diverse cultures They are shown traditional costumes, and explained about customs and beliefs, music, song and dance.
Kitchen Garden Project Green Thumb: The “Seed to Table” project was started with inspiration and support from Benalla rotary club of Australia, led by Graeme and Joy Budd. This is now part of our regular syllabus. Children are introduced to “slow” food as opposed to “fast” food, in the class room, and are demonstrated the human food process. Later the children learn about lighting outdoor cooking fires, chopping and slicing, one pot cooking and how to set a table. Finally, they enjoy eating the healthy food they helped cook.
Project Green Thumb enables children to practice laying of garden plots, prepare beds, spread farm manure, sow vegetables, water, weed, harvest the crop and assist in the kitchen.
Constructing a Mud Oven and Baking: As part of our baking experience, children construct a mud oven under the guidance of volunteer Maureen Blake. Children help in baking bread, cakes and pizza and learnt how to make Sour Dough bread under the supervision of volunteer Surabhi Gangully.
Traditional art: Rangoli and Batik: Children were helped to create Rangoli with flower petals and colors, and practice tie & dye art.
Gifts of nature Flowers & Flora: Children in KG classes, collects flowers. These are dried in a home-made flower press. It is a good beginning for the children to learn about the local flora and why it is important to look after nature's gifts. Primary classes take up projects like Trees of Samthar, Uses of Bamboo, and so on.
Art & Nature: Using natural objects to create art work. Pasting of twigs, leaves, flower petals and grass to create art work on outline drawings