First Story Positive: THIS Unique school in Chattisgarh connects children with nature
The Govt. school is situated in Kasekera village in Bagbahra block of Mahasahmund district, about 109 km away from Raipur-
Students eagerly await the bell signifying the end of a school day, so that they can run home and enjoy their evenings, away from school. This is not the case however for this unique school in Chattisgarh, where as soon as the school bell rings, instead of going home, children run towards the forest. This Govt. school in Kasekera village in Bagbahra block of Mahasahmund district is about 109 km away from Raipur. As the clock hits 1 PM on a Saturday, children bolt out the classroom and into the forests cheerfully, eager to see what it is that they would learn today.
You might think, looking at them that they are going to the forest to play, but instead they spend their time in nature for the purposes of education. In the ‘Nature class’ students from 6th to 10th class will look around the forests, some observing the insects and creatures in the water, while some would observe the trees and plants. The headmaster of the school, Dr. Vijay Sharma would also join the students in their inquisitive plays in the forest.
The students are taught practical knowledge of Maths, Science, Agriculture, Ayurveda and medicinal knowledge, all from Nature itself. Topics of maths such as slope, speed of water, area and multiplication are explained through plants and mountains. In science, all the practical work like balancing the topics of Physics, using the plants for teaching chemistry, identifying the medicinal plants and calculating the trees’ age using the bark of the tree are among the interesting topics that the children learn. It is also a live lesson in biology as the students are taught to identify the various species of wildlife and insects. They also learn weeding and maintenance of various plants.
But how did this come to be? 2 years ago the headmaster had proposed this idea to the School committee. They accepted and since then, the skills and performance of the children have skyrocketed. The children had also won a cash prize of Rs 50,000 in the Eco Club Competition last year.
The trend of ‘nature schools’ was already established in the western countries. Most notably, they are an ever increasing trend in New Zealand where they are also known as Bush Kindies, and are aimed at connecting the children more to their ‘Maori’ roots. Establishment of ‘Forest Schools’ in Britain and Australia have also seen an increase in recent times.
Also, according to a study by University College London (UCL) and Imperial College, living close to nature provides immense benefits to the health of children. It also does wonders for their mental and emotional health. Children who live amidst greenery have also shown good intellectual development.