Viet Nam News
HẬU GIANG — If it does not rain, outdoor classes in the school’s garden are held everyday at the Hoa Mai Kindergarten in Hậu Giang Province.
The kids learn how to dig up the soil, to sow, weed, water and harvest vegetable and flowers.
For over last four years now, the school has used more than 70sq.m as a garden for kids to grow vegetables and flowers, said school principal Nguyễn Thị Hồng Thắm.
“Kids love the garden and they learn a lot from it,” she said.
For instance, they learn that certain types of vegetables or flowers are grown in different seasons and weather conditions.
The garden is divided into plots so that each one is suitable for different group – under three, 3-4, and 4-5 years old.
Growing a garden and conducting outdoor classes for kindergarteners is an iniative of Nguyễn Thị Thùy Mỵ, who’s worked as a kindergarten teacher for almost 12 years.
Mỵ, who is also mother of a 10-year-old girl, said that her parents and parents-in-law were farmers living in the countryside, but her child was not familiar with vegetables and farm animals.
“I was unhappy to see that my daughter did not know much about fruits and vegetables whenever we visited her grandparents,” Mỵ said.
“When I tried to explain things about farming fruits and vegetables, she was very surprised and very eager to learn more,” Mỵ said, adding that she regrets not teaching her daughter all this earlier.
Her daughter’s curiosity and excitement inspired Mỵ to do something for students born and are living in urban areas. They are much more used to office buildings, houses, roads or vehicles than gardening, plants or vegetables.
In urban areas, images are used to help kids learn about fruits and vegetables, Mỵ said, adding that the conventional teaching method did not make the subject interesting for kids, and they were easily distracted.
However, when the kids attended outdoor classes in the garden, they were interested and focused on the lessons.
Sometimes, the kids are asked to prepare seeds or seedlings at home and bring them to school. During the outdoor classes, kids are shown how to sow seeds, grow seedlings, and water them. In the following days, they will remove weeds to make room for their vegetable to grow well. They are also asked to observe the differences – as the plants grow and get ready for harvesting.
“We sometimes record the kids during such outdoor activities and show them the clips later,’ Mỵ said, adding that the clips were very useful teaching aids.
Teachers would combine the visual aid illustrations with more detailed information and deliver messages like: “Remove the weed carefully to avoid hurting the flowers; Put rubbish in the bin; Don’t water too much. Let’s save water.”
“We aim to help kids form good habits and routines,” Mỵ said.
Lê Thị Hoài Thu, the mother of a student in Mỵ’s class, said that after school, her child was very happy as she showed her the vegetables that she had nursed and cultivated at school.
“I’m happy too to see my child learn and be able to do new things,” Thu said.
Ngô Thị Tú Ngọc, vice principal of the Hoa Mai Kindergarten, said the idea to get kids closer to nature was not new, but it was something very suitable and valuable.
“Children can see different plants, fruits and vegetables around them, but they don’t learn much more about how they grow. Improving their knowledge of nature through practice is a good way to nurture their love for nature and get them engaged in protecting the environment.” — VNS