Dr. Lomino in China: March 6
MARCH 6: The Stink Bug Mystery
As we walk from the buses the children begin noticing many stink bugs on the ground, belly up. “Are they dead?” is the question they keep asking. The teachers confirm that yes, it appears that they have all died. Of course the first thing that comes to my mind is that insecticide has been sprayed here—another pollution concern. One of the teachers asks the farmer that question later in the day, and finds out that the lychee trees have been sprayed. I haven’t seen the bugs on the trees, so I wonder if the reason for spraying is something else.
Channing puts several dead bugs on a broken bamboo branch for the children to see at circle time. The children gather around to talk about the dead bugs. I don’t understand the words that are spoken in Chinese, but I do see the interest in the children’s faces. So far I haven’t noticed any particular compassion for the various insects that are found in the forest. There is certainly interest, but at a distance.
At Wauhatchie School children enjoy holding and touching insects, particularly pill bugs, beetles and worms. And they have genuine fondness for these little creatures and are careful to put them back in their habitats. This is what I want to see developed with the children of No Boundaries. They must fall in love with nature. At this point I think they enjoy playing outside, but don’t have that loving bond with the land. That is why teacher training is so important here in China. The teachers need to model this, and before they can model it, they must feel it in their hearts. I think several teachers do have that connection, but many haven’t had the opportunity to spend time deeply in touch with the natural world. I feel compelled to help them. So today during Forest Teacher training I met with five more of the teaching staff. We spent time discussing the meaning of silence and close observations, created sound maps and did a close-up study. Afterwards, Michael told me that for the first time in his three years in China, he is now very interested in learning the names of the trees and plants here in the forest. The observation activities piqued his interest in botany!
Today’s Insight: I did notice that several teachers stood in the background while children were playing together today, and they just watched rather than participating or directing the activities. It will take some time to change the old teaching paradigm, but I’m encouraged by today’s observations.