International School Grounds Month kicked off in style in Nepal, where children in schools in Kathmandu Valley escaped their classrooms to learn more about the natural world around them. As part of the Nepal Nature School Eco-Smart program, Ritu Gurung (Senior Program Officer at Wildlife Conservation Nepal) helped the schools bring their curriculum alive by taking the learning outdoors. Children explored the ‘biology’ of a tree and its role in the Earth’s global and local ecosystems and also discussed how humans and animals use trees. The Kathmandu Valley teachers built on this work by examining trees in detail and developing children’s understanding through direct contact with trees and parts of trees, such as ‘cookies’, which are thin slices through the trunk or branches of a tree.
In an interesting twist, groups of children engaged in a physical activity aimed at cementing knowledge of the component parts of a tree. Having learned about the heartwood, xylem, phloem, cambium and bark, children recreated this structure with their own bodies. Rhymes and chants celebrated the role trees play in the life of the Kathmandu Valley.
- Download Ritu Gurung’s lesson plan for the tree exploration.
- Wildlife Conservation Nepal: www.wcn.org.np
- Nepal Nature School Eco Smart programme: www.wcn.org.np/nature_school
- International School Grounds Month resource guide 2016: http://bit.ly/ISGAmay