Living Tree School’s environmental projects take students beyond textbooks

Students of Living Tree School Kohima engaged in various environment based projects initiated by the school during lockdown.
Students of Living Tree School Kohima engaged in various environment based projects initiated by the school during lockdown.

Morung Express News
Kohima | May 26

As extraordinary times and crisis such as today ushers in new normality for most citizens, it is especially a challenge for parents and schools in trying innovative ways to keep children engaged in learning. The Living Tree School in Kohima is one such school guiding its students to learn beyond textbooks and the virtual world, by engaging students and parents in projects with themes based on sustainable environment.

"This lockdown has been a challenge for everyone, especially the kids. The pandemic and lockdown is forcing everyone to adjust with new routines.  Managing study time at home has been a challenge for many parents and students as well. Students are missing school environment and being with peers. So we are trying our best to keep the students at Living Tree engaged to bring out positive thoughts and put these thoughts in action," says Pelekhono Zinyü, Headmistress, Living Tree School expressing the hope that the projects will create an awareness and also cut down screen time.

At present, the students have been given projects to engage themselves in learning besides the online classes. One project enabled students to work on the regeneration of the earth during the lock down by 'Reusing, Recycling and Reducing'. The students did a wonderful job, says a teacher.

For Seketou, a Class 6 student, the projects have been an interesting and meaningful experience. Working on a recycling project, where he recycled an old bottle into a piggy bank, Seketou says, "Instead of throwing old bottles as waste, I made it into something useful. It could have polluted the environment, had I thrown it as a waste. I feel good and responsible to help in a small way in keeping the environment clean and beautiful."

"As a parent I found the recycle project very productive for both my kid and I. Usually verbal persuasion does not do enough to encourage kids to act as expected but working together and going through the process hand in hand and explaining things through the working time was so very helpful," says Meneno Mesen. Another parent, Amongla Imchen views that the projects during the lockdown has helped her children learn and enjoy important lessons. "My son took two days to make a basket; he really enjoyed learning something new. It was a great opportunity for the students to learn how to recycle waste into attractive decorative pieces," says Imchen.

In another project under the theme "Go Green and Eat healthy," students were instructed to plant their own vegetables which according to teachers received 'amazing responses'.

"I learned that earthworm is farmer's friend because it is good for the soil and helps the plant to grow. I had fun holding the earthworm. I love watering my plants," says 4 years old Avikhe, a nursery student whose parents helped him plant chilli, onion, tomato, and ginger.

Learning by experience through such projects is essential, according to Viketu Chüpuo and his wife, who expressed joy in watching their children getting involved in taking care of the environment in a small way. "In the process, we could see the way they could perceive the pros and cons of how our irresponsible management of wastes is a threat to our God- given beautiful environment. It's a joy to see them developing their skills in crafts as well," they remark.

Today, with the need of extending classrooms beyond the 'four walls' and learning by doing, the activity undertaken by our children on vegetable planting was a good activity and an appropriate one for their age, says Lemmila k.

Through the various projects, the school hopes to witness its children getting involved in practicality and guide them to recognise and discover their potentials and creativity.

While there is no match for classroom learning, Zinyü expresses optimism that children will enjoy learning about the "importance of caring for the environment and be active participants in regenerating the environment and in turn become responsible citizens."