BY: JESSICA BEUKER
The traditional school structure has long been one of “textbook” learning rather than hands-on learning, where practical experience acts as the teacher. Paired with a societal shift towards convenience and technology, we have cut off some of our ties to the natural world. Are we really teaching our children about the world in which they live? In recent years, a number of programs have focused on teaching children where their food comes from by allowing them to grow and harvest their own produce. But now, thanks to an innovative new design, there could be an entire preschool devoted to sustainable farming and education.
Recently, Rome-based designers aut- -aut proposed “Nursery Fields Forever,” a part farm, part school, with three unique approaches to learning: from nature, technique, and practice. The idea was awarded first prize at this year’s AWR International Ideas Competition.
According to Inhabitat, instead of classrooms, the school would have open spaces where vegetables could grow and animals could roam freely. The buildings would be surrounded by livestock pens and garden plots, and children interact with nature first hand. Preschoolers would also be introduced to the concept of renewable energy from wind turbines and solar panels located on school grounds.
© aut – – aut
“Child’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development can all be encouraged by interaction with animals and plants,” states aut- -aut’s website. “Furthermore children are more prone to approach and interact with others when sharing a mission or a duty. It is even truer when the survival and wellness of a third relational component (i.e. an animal or a plant) relies on such a mission.” The program would also help children build self-esteem and promote healthy lifestyles.
Our world is changing. There is not a lot of room for rigid educational structures anymore. We should be utilizing programs like “Nursery Fields Forever” to educate the next generation about the problems that may lie ahead for them, and furthermore, to effectively deal with these issues.
Image sources: aut–aut.it