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Nature Guide training - October 2019

Activity  Review


Green Steps

Short summary:

In this short article, Gudrun Bruckner reviews the Green Steps Nature Guide training taken in 2019 in Shanghai.

The nature guide training immediately started with a hands-on experience for the participants – a Plants and Friends walk at Cenbo village. We, the nature guide trainees joined the diverse group of kids and parents. Together we set out in the late afternoon, equipped with clipboard, pen and transparent boxes to document and collect whatever we will discover. Knut asked us to touch the bark of trees to feel the different “skins” of them. We did not expect to discover so many different trees out there and together with the children we collected the leaves and fruits to identify them back home at the parrot tree. When we reached the lake, the sun was about to set. 

The whole landscape was put in a very special and soft light. The nature around us seemed to calm down after a busy day. And similar was the feeling for us. We walked back home to the parrot tree, where dinner was already waiting for us. The table was full of local specialities bought from the nearby market. In the evening, we were introduced to the course by Knut, our trainer. The Nature Guide Training should give us the self-confidence to facilitate and design nature classes based on the Montessori Method.

The following day, we were blessed with a stunning sunrise above the canals of Cenbo. After a refreshing morning walk through the forest, we continued to talk about Montessori learning methods and Green Steps principles. The today’s task was to design a Practical Life Activity and present it to the group.
In the afternoon we stepped directly in the next practical session – doing woodcrafts. We had the chance to practice handling saw and hammer. The outcome were three creatively designed spice boxes, in which we can plant herbs. This time the activity was a studying process for ourselves - next time we will already be able to assist the facilitation of this activity. It was slowly getting dark and the mosquitos started to disturb us. We escaped inside and enjoyed another amazing dinner in the parrot tree.

The next day’s session was focused on Sensorial Learning. We were engaged to design a multisensorial activity and present it to the group afterwards. After two days full of theory classes and practical activities we ended the Nature Guide Training in a very special way – a kayak tour on Dianshan Lake to the bird islands. Together with two participants we headed out around 4 pm. After a short time of paddling we were already almost alone on the water. Only a few traditional fishermen were passing by from time to time. 

We kept our eyes open to observe the bird’s paradise here. We saw different kinds of herons. Some birds already left to migrate south. Luckily before we left the islands a swallow swarm was passing by above our heads – what an amazing experience. While we were kayaking back to Cenbo, the sun was setting and the color of the sky was changing constantly. It was slowly getting dark. Birds were calming down, but bats were getting up and escorting us back to the shore.

After these intense and inspiring days of training we headed home having a better understanding of how to observe and respond to a child’s or student’s needs based on the Montessori Method. We got an insight in designing and facilitating nature events through hands-on experiences. Besides, we spent a few joyful days in nature.