(Contributed by Ms Brahada Shanker , Sr. Officer - Programmes , Sense India)
“Nothing can beat a home cooked meal made from the vegetables cultivated by these lovely children. It was a proud moment for me and my family.”
–Quote by a parent
Teaching within natural environment is a critical component of the educational strategies used in teaching deafblind children, so they learn in a variety of environments outside of the classroom. One such environment is gardening, a way of connecting with the natural environment for deafblind children. Vegetable cultivation helps children in learning where food comes from as well as helps them orient with different plants and vegetables by touch.
UN has declared the year 2014 as the Year of Family Farming
for sustainable food production to achieve food security and combat poverty. In line with this, a latest initiative named Horticulture therapy
(their own creative approach to learning) has been introduced to the children with deafblindness by Kottayam Social Service Society
, our State Learning Centre (SLC) for deafblindness in Kerala.
The children of the program have turned a small area at the resource centre into a vegetable garden. This therapy was introduced into the rehabilitation plan for the children with deafblindness under the recreational activity.
The concept provided opportunities for the children for hands on learning through exploration, experimentation and nurturing, thereby connecting them with nature and each other in unique and important ways.
The children along with their parents were thrilled on seeing plants grow and bear vegetables like runner beans, brinjal (aubergine) and tomatoes. They were able to reap a first harvest of one kilogram of beans and brinjal and distributed to their homes.
Ms.Shaila Thomas, coordinator says – “Children connect learning to a real life experience, so daily lessons become more meaningful. There is something magical about being outdoors and the children love the physical aspects of planting a garden”.
It’s a necessity to break free from conventional ways of doing things, whether it’s teaching or even day to day activities that one does. New explorations lead to creative outlets. Some may fail but those that succeed yield outputs beyond expectations.
Sense India proudly congratulates the children of SLC Kerala for the success of this initiative. We encourage the creativity and initiative of the educators. We hope to share with you many more of such little steps of progress in the future.
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