Experiential education, a new trend in Hà Nội

February 14, 2023 - 08:49

The trend of organising classes through field trips or games for children has been increasing in recent years in big cities.


Children are excited with a game of catching piglets on a farm. — VNA/VNS Photo 

HÀ NỘI — The trend of organising classes through field trips or games for children has been increasing in recent years in big cities.

This experiential education is being shaped and received with enthusiasm from parents and teachers.

No need to spend a lot of money and time on expensive trips, many parents join social networks and groups of "Let the children go out to play", "Travelling with children" or "Going out with children" to look for suitable trips for their children.

As a mother of three young children, in the past, Trần Thu Hoà in Hà Nội’s Cầu Giấy District had to think hard where to take her children on weekends.

Hoà’s criteria is that her children have outdoor activities close to nature or cultural experiences.

“My kids look forward to the weekends because they get to go out of the busy city,” Hoà said.

“In summer, my family goes on long trips going to the forest or beach such as Cúc Phương National Park in Ninh Bình Province, Ba Vì National Park or Hạ Long Bay in Quảng Ninh,” Hoà said.

“The children are very excited with the trips because they make new friends, explore new places and have new games that keep them well entertained,” she said.

If going to the forest, the children can experience plum picking, bathing in streams, herding cows and playing folk games with ethnic minority children.

And when going to the sea, they join swimming or kayaking competitions, she said.

“Each trip brings endless joy for children while adults feel they are returning to childhood,” the mother said.

These trips are gradually becoming popular because the cost is not too high and many families can afford them, she said.

Nguyễn Phương, one of the organisers of the group “Let Children Go Out” set up by a group of parents in Hà Nội, said that group activities help children of all ages learn to share through eating, sleeping, and playing together.

From the time they board the car, children know how to share seats, experience the joy of winning together, encourage each other and share difficulties through games, Phương said.

Community sleepovers are interesting experiences for city children, she said.

Not choosing to go out of the city, Blue Club in Hà Nội prioritises activities right in the city, which can be a visit to a museum, participation in baking and cooking classes, and charity activities.

The activity can take place in half a day or a full day.

To have a long trip, the club's manager must make a long-term plan for parents to participate.

Nguyễn Thị Thu, the Blue Club’s vice director, said: "The organisers of these activities can be the high school students or parents who are good at a certain field."

“Most recently, a leaf craft programme was held at the park. Here, the children participated in creative thinking development activities, making pictures, cards and art work from leaves with the desire to raise funds to give small gifts to the needy and the homeless people,” Thu said.

“The main instructors are the parents of the club,” she said.

Children play grass sliding. — VNA/VNS Photo Lê Vân

Larger scale models

Realising the advantages of letting children go out to play, many farms in the suburbs of Hà Nôị have designed activities suitable for children and students such as Erahouse, Edufarm, and Bá Tân farm that are very familiar to students in Hà Nội.

As fairly close to Hà Nội, Bá Tân Farm in Vân Côn Commune of suburban district Hoài Đức has become a regular destination for many inner-city pre-schools because of a nature-friendly design, diverse experience programmes and fair service prices.

Nguyễn Bá Quỳnh Anh, the farm’s manager, said that parents in the city have little time to interact with their children and the city lacks open air places so they just take their children go to shopping.

“I think children can become almost passive, lacking creativity. Therefore, the experience programme at the farm will help children have a real experience with the natural countryside space and help connect family members,” Quỳnh Anh said.

Indeed, when coming to Bá Tân Farm, children and parents experience interesting activities together such as planting trees, harvesting vegetables, catching chickens and cooking meals by themselves.

In addition, children can experience playing folk games such as catching fish and snails in jars, catching ducks and pigs in gardens, or flying kites in the vast lawn.

“Here, the children are not scolded for spilling, breaking, accidentally picking fruits or crushing the vegetable bed. The children are immersed in the mud as much as they want, and enjoy eating clean food,” Quỳnh Anh said.

“These are real experiences that city girls and boys can not find in their home,” he said.

Meanwhile, in HCM City, the project Experience Bus compiled by the Eco-Educational Area named GoingHomeland in collaboration with Dr. Nguyễn Hoàng Khắc Hiếu and MSc. Lê Thị Hồng Anh from HCM City’s Department of Education and Training has been operating since 2020.

This is a project with experiential tours including many practical educational activities for students at all levels.

According to Hiếu and Hồng Anh, the project was born with the goal of helping students gain practical experiences, apply knowledge learned in textbooks and practice life skills to develop their abilities and talents.

The project also aims to support students' ability to self-study, self-discovery and career orientation.

The project includes experience tours of Creative Horizons, Exploring Nature, Society, Science and History of HCM City and the Southern region, Life Skill Development, and Career Guidance. — VNS