While visiting family in the Philippines, Bryarly was invited to speak about nature-based education at two conferences for teachers- one on global educational leadership and management, and the other on action research in education. Her first workshop desbribed the benefits of nature-based education, the need for reconnecting children with nature, promising principles/practices from three models that shape Earth Path’s approach, and applications for public school teachers and principals. The second presentation made recommendations for how nature-based education and its benefits could be applied in Philippine schools and evaluated through action research.
It was humbling to spend the day with over 200 Filipino teachers, seeing their passion for serving youth and their community, hearing their motivation to innovate, and learning about the considerable constraints that they face (such as class sizes of 30-50 students, nonexistent fieldtrip budgets, and scanty book resources). The teachers’ drive to find solutions and incorporate more nature-based education in their classes was inspiring, and we hope that our presentations may inspire them to look further into the models we mentioned: Forest Schools, Coyote Mentoring/Wilderness Awareness School, and Place-based Education.
Highlights of the workshops: when participants spoke about the remarkable environmental attributes of their own communities and shared some of the amazing place-based/nature-based projects that they are already doing (e.g. school food gardens nation-wide!), and then the laughter and applause that our Earth Path animal calls elicited… It turns out that the Philippine equivalent of Canada’s chickadees and bluejays alarming when danger is near is the sound of dogs barking! : )
It was a great two days, and we’re thankful for the organizers’ immense hospitality and the opportunity.