Nature School

CIRHEP’S involvement with children through their Nature School concept has for the last 20 years been one of the organizations core activities. It not only provides environmental education to children but also brings them close to nature and helps them to understand their role in saving our mother earth. Based on experience, CIRHEP has developed a playway method curriculum on environmental education for children in and around the Kadavakurichi reserved forest area.¬†Miss Chandra, who is the initiator and driving force behind the nature school got her isnpiration from the Swedish Mulle school and Argentinas playway method. Together with the Indian nature pedagogic the nature school concept teaches children about environmental problems and their role in dealing with them trough games, competitions, role-play and trekking. The ultimate goal with nature school is to educate the next generation on environmental problems as well as to give them tools to combat climate change and improve their society that they soon will be in charge of.

Miss Chandra teaching children about the four pollutions.
Children performing a play about a king who cut down all the trees in his kingdom causing less rainfall and water and food scarcity.

The most important issues in the Nature school are:

  • The meaning of the environment and how to care for it, both globally and locally. water and soil conservation
  • The four pollutions; air- water- soil- and sound.
  • The difference between living and non- living things.
  • Tree planting
  • Health and hygiene aspects
  • Equal right between boys and girls
  • Social issues, such as street cleaning etc.

From Nature school student to CIRHEP employee

This is Chinnathambi. At the age of 10 years old, he joined his villages Nature School program to learn more about environmental problems. There, he gained knowledge about climate change, soil and water conservation, organic farming and many other important subjects, which was not being taught in regular schools. Today Chinnathambi has been a part of CIRHEP for 10 years. After completing his studies, Chinnathambi pursued additional agriculture studies and on his 2,5 hectare land in Andipatti he cultivated pulses and millets for his family. In 2013 Chinnathambi CIRHEP as a field worker, meeting local farmers in the area and introducing the subject of organic farming and helping them in their journey to transition from chemical to organic cultivation.

A nature school class learning about organic agriculture methods
Chinnathambi

Since joining Cirhep, Chinnathambi has expanded his knowledge even further, particularly in the realm of transitioning from chemical-based farming to fully organic practices. He desires to encourage more people to make this shift from chemical to organic farming methods. Chinnathambi has along with CIRHEP recognized the importance of educating the younger generation about organic farming and environmental preservation and he wishes to continue informing the youth population in the area about the significance of protecting the environment and the benefits of organic farming.Chinnathambi also aspires to pass on his knowledge and values to his own son in the future.He plans to teach him about organic agriculture, with the intention of involving him in the family farm in the future. His and CIRHEP’s ultimate goal is to create a new generation that knows the importance of sustainable farming practices and who will contribute to the well- being of agriculture and the environment.

Nature School ACHIEVMENTS

During the last 20 years

  • Increased environmental knowledge the ultimate goal and the biggest success with nature school is the increased¬†environmental knowledge the children gain. Through nature school the next generation learn about the environmental challenges globally but also the specific challanges their own villages face and how to deal with them.
  • Preparing the next generation, with the nature school education the next generation come prepared with the knowledge and tools to better the environment, and the standard of living in the area.
  • 32 villages and 1400 children educated yearly. At the max capacity historically CIRHEP nature school has been able to educate over 1400 children in 32 villages through nature and evening school.
  • Included environmental education in regular schools and evening schools.With new coming projects CIRHEP has been able to collaborate with local schools and evening schools to include their nature school education as part of the regular school curriculum.

In summary, the Nature School program implemented by CIRHEP has been highly successful in increasing environmental knowledge among children. With a focus on global and local environmental challenges, the program equips the next generation with the knowledge and tools toaddress these issues effectively. The program has historically reached over 1,400 children annually in 32

villages.An important achievement of the Nature School program is its collaboration with local schools and evening schools to incorporate environmental education into regular curricula. By integrating these teachings, the program ensures a wider impact and a sustainable approach to environmental awareness.The ultimate goal of the program is to prepare the next generation with the knowledge and skills needed to improve the environment and enhance the standard of living in their communities. Through the Nature School program, CIRHEP provide a solid foundation for the next generation to actively contribute to environmental conservation and sustainable development.