As a nature educator myself I always wondered if teaching without any relevant practical use was a good way of the whole teaching and learning process. Perhaps a question that should come to everyone's mind. Parents today are under accelerated pressure to begin their child's education in their formative years and focus more on academic performance and achievements rather than their overall growth and development. The definition of learning that is restricted to academics which when coupled with the virtual world that we all live in today develops anxiety and proves to be detrimental in the normal progress of the child. The whole organised process and method of gaining knowledge needs a reform that targets on an overall growth and development of the child through experiential learning methods that enables children to pursue their own interests to work through problems and challenges as they arise in real-life situations, critically think about them, learn to be assertive, creative, develop skills and leadership qualities. It should by at large integrate nature education into the whole learning process that teaches children many important concepts such as appreciation, respect, care for the earth, life-long attitudes, positive behavior towards sustainability and inter-relationships between all the elements of nature. I always thought to myself how I could achieve this at Mrugaya xpeditions which largely caters to the different educational institutes and believes in creating a learning process that transforms knowledge into experience through interesting activities.
Since then I always had a idea and an intention of providing and fostering this culture of 'experiential learning' hence thought of introducing it to educational institutes that choose to travel with us. One such experiential learning program is 'Farm to plate'. An exclusive program thoughtfully designed especially for children that focuses on the various aspects of agricultural practices and farming concepts.
Do our kids know enough about agriculture? This may sound like an odd question to you, but unfortunately the fact is that most of our children don’t understand where their food comes from. This program intends to get their hands dirty while exploring and assisting in the daily chores of farming. A well curated program that allows the children to be outdoors and aims at opening young minds to endless possibilities and opportunities related with farming, the hardships of the farmers, respect for them and how food choices can make an impact on their health and environment. All in all this program Farm to Plate that includes myriad of interesting activities has become quiet a favorite and popular among the many schools over the years, some who have even come twice.
Poorna Centre for Learning , Bangalore has had a great time during their stay with us at Verlem in 2018 for the first time and at Tanshikars Spice Farm this year for the second time. Similarly a 6 day program was curated for the Anweshna School based in Bangalore last year. Besides, The Rishi Valley School has traveled twice for a similar experiential learning program with us in the last couple of years. It has been a fantastic experience to host this enthusiastic bunch of young farmers.
Some glimpses of the activities and candid moments at the camp.