Inspiring tech-savvy kids to plug into nature
June Moh | 30 Oct 2014 16:09
Suzane Samy (right), founder of Tatana Roots
Five-year-old Wilson’s life revolves around the tablet, laptop and smartphone.
And, like other tech-savvy urban children, he has developed a greater bond with gadgetry and technology than wildlife and nature.
But recently, Wilson made a new discovery that changed his perception of everything around him. His parents signed him up for The Jungle Class organised by Tatana Roots, an environmental organisation that strives to connect people with nature through conservation initiatives, community projects and public campaigns.
Suzane Samy is the woman behind Tatana Roots. Formed in 2009, the organisation introduced The Jungle Class as one of the environmental activities targeted at urban children aged two to seven years.
For urban kids, the first encounter with nature usually comes when they start school, but not all have the benefit of a walk through a forest.
“Going to the park is about as much exposure to nature as they get. But going into the forest enables them to learn about the ecosystem,” Suzane explains.
Today, children have few opportunities to connect with nature so they miss out on the many benefits enjoyed by their parents during their childhood back in the kampung.
“There are not enough places for children to go to. Parents sometimes think it is dangerous to go on nature trails,” Suzane says. “I realised that there was a lot of potential in educating children about the environment.”
With The Jungle Class, Suzane hopes to create opportunities for children to learn with their five senses – sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Children learn best through an all-encompassing experience.
“For instance, children learn about crickets through flashcards but they have not even heard the chirping of a cricket in real life,” she points out. “Or if you talk about a leaf to a child, he may think that all leaves are green when the fact is that there are purple and pink leaves too. Children are inquisitive and this is the best way to teach them about nature.”
Read the full article on page 17 in the latest issue of Focusweek.
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