Did you know that nearly a billion people on this planet do not have access to a safe drinking water supply? Many children, mainly girls, spend several hours every day walking to collect water for their families. This means that they do not go to school because they are collecting water. We showed the Prep School children a short clip illustrating this. The children then had to fill a container they had brought from home with water and walk carrying this water. The Foundation Phase children filled their containers with swimming pool water and walked around campus. The Intermediate Phase children walked down (and the older ones walked back up) to Pledge Park with their 4 litres of water. We had few complaints but many voiced their tiredness and how sore their muscles were. At least now they have a good idea as to how those girls feel, who do this chore daily.
The Foundation Phase then went on to explore the diversity of nature by participating in a scavenger hunt, teaching them to be observant and notice the textures, colours and smells of nature. They did not collect items, but used their senses to explore nature. We encouraged them to make connections between living things and themselves.
The Intermediate Phase enjoyed a demonstration by Lindon Herwels of Eden Municipality. He showed them how to test water correctly. We tested the two sites earmarked in our River Action Project. Stepping Stones also tested their two sites. He spoke about what we were testing for, so that we could check both bacterial and chemical analyses of the two rivers adjacent to Oakhill. This testing will now occur every month and has been sponsored by the Knysna Municipality. Once we have received the results, the children will study them to determine what is polluting the rivers and they will then embark on a plan of action to attempt to clean them up.
The IP children then observed particular plants in their habitats and answered questions about them. The questions focused on how these plants adapted to harvest and store water and the children were encouraged to learn from nature, following the principles of biomimicry, and thinking about how these adaptions can be used by man in designing buildings and other objects. Further research and discussions will take place next term as a follow-up to our successful Eco day.
Wonderful weather and pleasant surroundings complimented an exciting outdoor learning experience.
Report: Jane Horn