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View Diary: Kids and the natural world (143 comments)

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  •  Taiwan (4+ / 0-)

    Five years ago we moved to Taiwan for 2 years so that our kids could learn Chinese. We were lucky to find a public school that would take our "know not one word of Chinese" kids, and even more lucky that this school was a "forest school", despite being only a short distance from Taipei a city of 5 million+.

    The elementary school had about 300 kids and as part of the curriculum the science teacher would take the kids on regular walks into a nearby forest, or even just along the very narrow road that led to the school. There were all kinds of frogs, birds, snakes, and insects, all easy to find and easy to study, right there.

    To add to the equation the grade 6 graduation ceremony was held in the forest next to the school, which included trees and plants planted by previous students, including all kinds of plants to attract butterflies.

    Then too the kids had to clean the school twice a day, which involved sweeping the floors, the schoolyard and even cleaning the washrooms. They also received a hot lunch every day, cooked on the premises and eaten in the classroom, for which a small fee was paid (and subsidized for those that did not have the money - which because about 1/3 of the students were quite low income was a reality).

    The exposure was invaluable for the kids, especially with the variety of life they got to see and the way that the exposure was integrated into their lives. Compared to the life of typical Taiwan city students who went to elementary schools with up to 4,000 kids, it was quite the "alternative".

    I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

    by taonow on Sun Aug 02, 2009 at 05:32:10 AM PDT

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