October 12th is Children's Day in Brazil, and as every year since SINAL's inception, we will host children from the local community as well as from the Julio Otoni Community Center, a partner organization in a favela in Rio. This coming Friday 11th, we will receive 30 children and are preparing the environmental learning journey! including an educational trail to a spring, a home-sourced desserts workshop with our ecochef, and a wildlife animal protection activity with a partner biodiversity protection NGO!
As we have had presence for 8 years in the valley, we and our partners have been able to see several indicators of biodiversity coming back. We are very happy and conscious that it is now time to double our efforts offering a safe, fun and educational approach to nature to the children that we hope will grow up to be its stewards.
We will post photos and videos of the event, so stay tuned to our social media @sinaldovale! In the meantime, we cannot be more grateful for the support of our donors, you continue to enable us to show in a fun way, how it is important to care for nature as she cares for us!
Here is a photo of a previous learning journey with our friend Recyclon!
With our last report we introduced Patricia, the pedagogue teaching the children at SINAL. She is still working every Monday afternoon with the children on topics following the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals SDGs.
A few weeks ago they started to talk about children and animal rights. She asked the pupils what they thought could be the rights of children. Each of them drew what they thought were their rights. The one right all of them drew in common, was the right to play! How lucky they always get a fifteen minute break where Patricia plays with them. Afterwards they started a discussion, because the kids, who are seven to ten-year-olds, realized there are children who are not able to pursue their rights. “This really got to me”, Patricia says,” when the children heard about the right of having enough food and they looked up at me and said:’ But there are children who don’t have any food!’ Bringing to their after school session what they had learned in class.” Another discussion was started when they learned about the right of having animals but that they had to respect the rights of the animals, too. “It was the first time they heard about animal rights.”
From the animal rights the classes went on to the topic of animals in English. Together with Vivian, the intern at SINAL and their English teacher, they created a memory game drawing the cards themselves and then writing the animals’ or plants’ names in English on one of the pairs of cards and in Portuguese on the other. After these two hours of first SDG-based learning and then the nature based English lessons both teachers and students enjoy a healthy snack. Since winter has started to arrive at SINAL these snacks have shifted from banana ice cream to granola with milk from our own cows! Afterwards, they all clean up the space they used and walk home.
Additionally, we want to inform you about the July bonus day - Donations over 100US$ made on July 18thwill be matched by GlobalGiving! So bring some friends together and help us provide a space for children where they can learn about and reconnect to nature.
We are happy to announce that this year we welcomed on board our pedagogue, Patricia! She has started a teaching program for the children of SINAL based on the Sustainable Development Goals, set by the United Nations. She adapts SDG-related subjects to the context of this urban community within the rainforest. In class she uses activities from the "teatro do oprimido", a theatrical method, that unites exercises, games and theatrical techniques to learn and express oneself. Her first activity was to show the students, who are between the ages of seven to ten, the organic garden we are maintaining on the SINAL property and express how they felt standing in it, posing as a statue, or through paintings. The second topic was animal treatment. The students were asked to build a bird's nest, learning that birds need time and patience to built their houses. The aim was to sensitize the children to deconstruct the common practice of playing with the nests and eggs they find. The children enjoyed the exercise so much that they ended up making birds nests during their breaks throughout the following weeks! They even put their own nests up in the trees for birds to use them.
Additionally, in March we received our first intern of this year, a German-Brazilian PR student who will be part of the SINAL team for five months. She started giving English classes to the children. In a joyful way she tries to explain the Atlantic Rainforest and the animals living within it in English. At the end of every class at 4 pm a small snack awaits the children, provided by Simone - SINALs regenerative cook - prepared with food grown in our own organic garden. Then the children set off to their way back home, sometimes discussing what they just learned.
2018 was a very special year for us - we broke the record of amount of sustainability learning journeys! we even hosted them for children in english and spanish language classes, giving them an opportunity to learn about the environment and practice their language skills.
With the help of all the students that came and visited, we also planted more than a thousand trees on the ground, around a spring that is just coming back inside our property. It was a great opportunity to show the kids in a very tangible way the relationship between trees and water, and how critical it is to protect the water basin around Rio.
This year we are already coming up with ideas to integrate the tools that they use in daily life to communicate and understand the world. We are preparing exercises with smartphones, like treasure hunts, trivias and plant-detecting apps, so they can reinforce the new knowlege they are getting while having fun - teaching them that having a connection with nature is not necessarily opposed to keeping up with their online life!
We have just inaugurated our Vitality Tent: a project made by volunteer architects experimenting with bioconstruction who built a structure made with only local and recycled materials, that was designed to fit into its environment in a way that would respect the landscape and enhance the sense of natural immersion.The valley in which it was built, surrounded by mountains and with running water, is home to many species of birds, turtles and even capivara!
This new space is the homebase to the inner skills component of our curriculum - a space of meditation that helps kids connect with the surrounding environment: the sounds, the smells and sights, and thus experience the harmonic relationship among living things. We then take some time to expore how we are feeling, what makes each of us unique: our own nature. This process helps us make a connection of the individual child with his or her own relationship with the environment, cultivating a bond that strengthens their sense of responsibility and sustainability!
We are very excited to use this space to explore the beauty of nature and continue caring for the fauna and flora that inhabit it. Thank you to our supporters who help us make the world a more beautiful and harmonic place!!
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