Frequently, the environment and the curriculum in rural schools are totally divorced from the reality of daily life in agricultural communities. CSF’s objective is to teach the science curriculum and simultaneously to give young students a deeper understanding for their environment. The Greenhouse and Water Conservation Project will do just this by involving students in their own agricultural activities in the greenhouse setting.
Using Greenhouses As Learning Laboratories
CSF, in collaboration with its partners is developing, installing and equipping greenhouses and water conservation systems in rural primary schools. The hardware will be supported by:
- A training program that enables teachers and students to operate the greenhouses
- Teacher training materials that will tie greenhouse activities directly to the official science curriculum so that students can ‘learn by doing’
- An outreach training program for parents and other community members in advanced agricultural techniques
Start-up: Spring 2012 Semester
First greenhouse under construction in January 2012
Hands-On Learning of Science
Since 20-25% of the science curriculum relates to botany, agriculture and ecology, the greenhouse activities will directly support the teaching and learning of this material in a direct, hands-on way. This sort of experiential, project-based learning is consistent with the Ministry of Education’s campaign for educational reform.
Spreading The Program Throughout Rural China
Like other CSF efforts,the overall goal is to develop high-impact educational programs that can be replicated widely by education bureaus on their own initiative. CSF’s expectation is that after a number of donor-sponsored installations have been successful, this program can be adopted and widely implemented by education bureaus throughout rural China.
Learning About Sustainable Development
There is a growing movement both within and outside official circles towards sustainable development and social enterprise. Student produce from the greenhouses will advance both these goals by generating some of the food consumed in expanding school meal programs. In addition to learning the basics of plant life, greenhouse activities will promote meaningful learning about environmental protection, water conservation, solar energy, organic gardening and low-carbon living.
Greenhouse Activities To Benefit The Wider Community
Involvement of parents and local farmers in greenhouse activities will strengthen the home-school connection and promote the role of schools as community centers.