Nature, an original classroom —— on International Division Field Practice 2021

Students from the International Division were happy to see the quiet blue sky and vibrant green fields. They participated in outdoor games and sports and relaxed themselves in nature. They had both competition and cooperation and got to understand team spirits. This was how the International Division saw field practice 2021.

April 30 was a sunny day, and the sky was cloudless blue. The golden sun shone directly onto the ground from the blue sky in the early morning – the first sign of the coming summer. Students just finished the three-day mid-term exams and ushered in the first field practice since COVID-19. The senior mates went to Guangfulin Site, and we, students from the Junior High School, went to Shanghai Jinshan Shanyang Pastoral.

Photos of the sky at departure, little house on the way, shot and produced by a student Nina Zhang

Sunshine Game

The first activity was the Sunshine Game, where students were exposed to the sun for more than two hours. Everyone walked up to the equipment “apathetically” and put the straps of the equipment on their feet reluctantly. They then “became indulgent in turn”. The subsequent activities included many competitions such as tug-of-war and “crossing the river”, which were quite fierce, fighting either their own classmates or senior mates. When the clothes were almost soaked in the sweat, pure and beautiful smiles bloomed on everyone’s face.

When students’ fighting spirit was burned out, they felt hungry and went to the restaurant by bus. The dishes did not seem exquisite, and yet they were delicious. The lively atmosphere somehow reminded everyone of the Eve dinner on the Spring Festival, and they immediately felt warm and happy.

Picking Up and Tasting Spring Fruits

“The breeze is not dry, and the sun is just proper.” After dining, students regained vitality, and they were all ready to pick up strawberries. The greenhouses were arranged in long rows and students could not wait to get inside with a plastic box. Almost every strawberry was big and bright, especially the strawberries in the first greenhouse. The red strawberries look beautiful and those who were usually afraid of bugs became brave and picked them up.

International Division Field Practice

From the Grade Six’s “penniless” survival challenge activity in the city to the Suzhou Wuxi trip for integration with human geography and then to the field practice after COVID-19, students were able to work hand in hand among classes and grades throughout studying and walking in nature and humanities. Every student is looking forward to the annual field practice, and the school plans to open a series of practical courses and implementing the unobtrusive concept of “learning while playing and playing while learning”.

Nature is the best teacher and partner for children. Students get to understand what beauty is, walking into the spring full of birds and flowers. They taste the autumn fruits and learn the meaning of the harvest. These are the most important things nature teaches every student. Many students expressed fun and appreciation in nature in their writing, including walking into the campus woods and ponds, counting tadpoles, watching fishes, and enjoying flowers, all of which brought them pleasant feelings. In the students’ desultory essays, the spring and autumn field practice activities each year were the most vividly described.

A classroom generated by nature

If all courses on campus are carefully prepared by teachers in advance, then outdoor classroom is a kind of education classroom generated by nature. While observing animals and plants, students learn the contents that may not be imagined in the team game competition. Confucius says, “Everyone is supposed to know more names of insects, fish, birds, beasts and plants”, and Thoreau says, “Nature withstands careful observation”. If one stops the hurrying footsteps and carefully observes a leaf or a flower, he finds the beauty of aesthetics and the mysteries of nature hidden in themselves, and they continuously offer inspiration and creativity.

Photo of green and yellow wheat stalks, shot by a student Kevin Huang

People return to nature in nature. The outdoor group photo is full of students’ bright smiling faces.

Words from Classmates

“Perhaps nature is just what it is. It makes people unintentionally combine their feelings with flowers and trees, and they better understand why those writers always like to add their feelings to the scenery. Everyone was happy that the outdoor walking ended successfully. Everyone expected to have two-day and one-night activities like those before COVID-19 but the unexpected harvest during one-day outdoor classroom was also meaningful. Students suddenly realized that they had not felt the spirit of teamwork for a long time. On the last day of April, it was full of enthusiasm and joy. In the coming May, we hope that everyone will give more enthusiasm to May with the hard work in April, and we are looking forward to summer!”

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