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!!
Luana, Swiss, talking about local medicinal plants
These past few months we have given a new spin to our environmental learning journeys for children: we are making use of the diversity of our staff to host children learning different languages, such as english and spanish, and matching their learning level to some vocabulary and grammar about environmentalism.
It has been a great entrypoint to get children interested in the environment, and it has given us the opportunity to build a global message: we all come from different places, speak different languages and have different cultures, but share the same natural world and its resources, as well as the responsibility to care for it! We have found that giving this larger perspective has sunk in the importance of environmental efforts in the different groups we have hosted.
Another interesting effect has been sharing our own stories of how we came to live in the Atlantic Rainforest and love its biodiversity. It has made some of the children of Rio feel inspired about the beauty of their surroundings and made them reflect about the unique richness of this forest.
We will continue to share with them stories about our backgrounds and our passion for the Atlantic Rainforest to the children hoping to plant a seed in their hearts. A big big thank you to all our donors who help us create memorable experiences to the future generations!
This month we hosted about 70 kids from the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area who came to SINAL to help us plant pioneer trees in a reforestation area, learn about the Atlantic Rainforest, its biodiversity, and what we do to protect it!
After a briefing session where we discussed questions like the destination of the trash we throw away at home, the balance of the ecosystem, and alternative ways of growing food, we went on a trail to visit the biggest tree in the valley, more than 150 years old, and see what a natural spring looks like.
We did a workshop where we made chocolate desserts made with our own cacao and local foods, and a treasure hunt identifying medicinal plants, vegetables we are growing in the garden, and some of our sustainability projects like bamboo bioconstruction.
Finally, we planted around 150 Ingá trees in an area in process of reforestation and visited another area that is already populated with pioneer trees, and the biodiversity is coming back!
A big thank you to our donors for helping us create a space of exploration, learning and sensibilization. We cultivate it with love and the hope that it will foster the concept of sustainability and love for the environment in the coming generations!
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