WALKING THE TALK
ISHITA BOSE SARKAR
Facilitator – Bhoomi College,
Prakriya Green Wisdom School
It was all about making connections, from the word go - yes, the chirping birds and green ambience beckoned, even as networks faltered and devices played up. Nature perhaps was impressing upon us, the need to make connections. And not just with networks. The session got off to a great start after the initial gaps were bridged – and what ensued was close an hour of sheer awe and amazement.
We walk. Virtually. And talk.
Here are the highlights that kept the audience engaged and participating. The acres of green learning spaces, home to 108 species of trees, many birds and butterflies are the manifestation of the dream of visionary Seetha Ananthasivan, a child who grew up in the lap of nature.
Here, children age 3 upwards learn by ‘living’ — with and from nature. They understand what it is to be ‘a part of nature’ – not ‘apart from nature’.
They roam the green acreage, experiencing lessons ‘inside - out’. They explore the greenery along with its inhabitants–yes, the rightful inhabitants, birds, bees, bugs, slugs et al. Creepy crawlies are not to be feared–just respected & treated right.
Ants going in a single file have inspired young children to want to fall in line without orders. Experimenting with salt and jaggery to discover the ants’ food preference were a few of the indicators of the kind of experiential learning these children enjoy.
Tree census,growing plants & trees, adopting house trees & tending them as their own these and more connect the children and the educators in a bond that possibly lasts a lifetime. Comments from the audience that showed that some of them fondly remembered the Honge or Pongamia. Pinnata tree that was witness to many a festivity and a myriad activities & emotions.
Talking of being eco centric as against ego centric, seeing oneself as a part of and made of the five elements is a value that is imbibed very young by just walking the talk.
Solar energy and rainwater harvesting, along with recycling of grey water which is kept chemical free with use of natural detergents like soap nut powder, growing as much food as possible, taking active part in the cooking and cleaning activities ensures that the children are truly connected to their community. They learn by experiencing responsible and sustainable living.
While activities and schedules are a given to lead a normal life, time out to get close to nature is important too. This serves to rejuvenate oneself. And most importantly, contemplate and make time and space to be comfortable on ones own. The virtual stroll had this and more to kindle thoughts of simple,sustainable living as a possibility for any of us that wish to take tiny steps. The closing note was certainly a punch delivered poetically. We were left to mull over Thich Nhat Hanh’s Clouds in each paper…
If there were no clouds,there would be no rain Without rain, where would the trees be? And without trees,how do we make paper? It’s all about Interdependence and Interconnections. We are with loads to ponder. And ways to act. Giving right of way to all.