Our Assistant Mandarin Teacher at Woodland Junior Academy, Ms Sophie, explains why bringing nature into the environment has a high impact on children.
In my classroom, I like to create a natural environment. It instils a sense of calm and a feeling of being relaxed, which in turn, allows children to play at ease. In our Stepping Stones class, I have found that a natural school environment helps capture their attention and keep them calm, happy and focused. Children in Hong Kong live in a concrete jungle and may not have much exposure to nature. Bringing pieces of nature into the classroom helps children learn about nature and introduces things they may never have seen before, like a potato plant or a rice plant.
As a mother of two boys, I often find them asking questions like ‘where olive oil comes from’, ‘what does an apple tree look like’, ‘where does rice come from’ and more. I grew up in the countryside where I got to experience how the food was grown and how things were made from raw materials, but for my sons, these are things they do not experience living in a city. Therefore, I want to bring these experiences to children by bringing nature into my classrooms and showing them how nature is full of wonders. Since these topics are very relevant to their lives, they are very intrigued, and it helps them settle quickly in school by themselves for the first time.