"By listening I know; By seeing I understand; By doing I make a difference.” The children enthusiastically approached the two cows in their stable. In their hands were the newly-cut, fresh, green leaves. They waited impatiently for their turns, and their face lit up when the cows ate the leaves.
Feeding the cows is probably a simple and common thing for those who live in small villages and have cows. For these children from Islam Terpadu Elementary School, however, this simple thing became an extraordinary experience. It was probably the first time they ever saw a cow in their life. The participants on this visit were 1st grade students, 55 of them, and 5 of their teachers.
Feeding the cows was one of education activities we conducted during this school visit at Yayorin's Kampung Konservasi. This outdoor learning focuses to integrate knowledge the children learn from school with some field experiences. This way, students not only understand the theories and facts, but most importantly, understand and respect the knowledge they receive.
Another activity that the children found very exciting was when they were asked to plant vegetable seeds. This time, they planted pokchai ( a type of vegetable similar to chinese spinach) in black polybags. With enthusiasm they grabbed handfuls of soil that was already mixed with organic compost and put it in the polybags. Each of them made a little hole on the soil with a finger, put one seed in it, and covered it with soil. Finally, they carefully watered the planted seeds. The children really loved it!
Other than feeding the cows and planting vegetable seeds, the children also watched an environmental movie in our little theatre and listened to story-telling in the library. The morning passed by very quickly, and everybody was sad when we had to say goodbye.
Kampung Konservasi tries to use nature as a learning ”canvas”...where simplicity and friendship with the environment are keys to understanding and respect. By giving opportunities for young people to express themselves and learn by doing, we are actually influencing their behaviors and future choices. In the long run, we hope that they can then influence others around them, including the adults. When that happens, the world will definitely be a better place!
Riyandoko (Education Facilitator) & Sally (Yayorin)