Beyond the Classroom: Rediscovering Nature

An Initiative by Kalpanadham in association with Gram Vikas

Satyabhama Majhi and her group led a nature exploration workshop that was organized at Vidya Vihar school, in the Ganjam district of Odisha. Ninety-five percent of the children at the school come from tribal communities.

The idea of the workshop was to introduce children and teachers to the concept of creativity through life forms. The screening of “Rivers and Tides”, based on the British artist, sculptor, and photographer—Andy Goldsworthy’s work, created much curiosity amongst the participants about using brightly colored flowers, icicles, leaves, mud, stones, rocks, pinecones, snow, stone, twigs, stems, roots, thorns, etc. The participants worked at five locations.

The Pond

‘The lollipop’, a spiral, which symbolizes desires, aspirations, and dreams. On realization of their dreams, the fulfillment, accomplishment, and happiness provide for their families and community. Amazingly all the children knew how and where to dig the earth without having to be taught!

The River Stream

After much experimentation with sand, berries, and leaves the children still felt something was amiss. There were no flowers! In the heat of Odisha, it was difficult for the delicate flowers to bloom in the summer heat. ‘The Giant Stone Flower’, grown in a pot zigzags its way into a fine full bloom by the flowing river.

Sasmita’s Garden

As the group of children were interacting with the villagers in an “adivaasi” (Tribal) cluster, they met a young girl named Sasmita. Her home was painted with terracotta and cow dung paste. She told the children about her dream of having a garden with flowers and butterflies around her home. A vibrant colorful garden was created, and it will continue to thrive in the relentless summer heat!

Amo Khelo Gharo, Our Play Home

Creating play in the playground— the children found different kinds of wood for the structures. Some thick and strong, others needed to be thin and flexible. ‘The Giant Swing’, ‘The 3D sea-saw’, which moves sideways and round in a circle, and ‘Hula Hoops’. And from everything around them, a play home was created!

Mancha, The Tree House

A mancha is a quiet rest place in the middle of the jungle. Made from dried branches and grass, decorated with origami butterflies, jute-ropering curtains, Mancha is a resting spot. Craftily placed tags tell us about the various species found in surrounding jungle.

This article is from issue


2016 Dec