Bukit Damansara School For Outdoor Learning

Author’s Blurb: My father always tells me how much his childhood revolved around playing in the earth and among animals, and how children of our generation don’t do that anymore. And I always wondered if that would still be a norm for children today?

Pui Lin and Dahlia both played with this idea, as both shared a passion for children to have a learning experience full of nature.

“Being in an increasingly urban environment has reduced the time children spend in nature. The less time children spend playing outside, digging in the ground, finding worms, playing with sticks and stones and harvesting vegetables, the less they are aware of the nature of mother ”, have- they shared with Vulcan Post.

In 2018, the duo founded Rimbun Montessori, a forestry school for children to have a learning environment filled with nature in Bukit Damansara.

Educational objectives aligned with the Montessori philosophy

Since their programs focus on immersing children in nature, Pui Lin and Dahlia felt that the Montessori philosophy most suited their goals in early childhood education.

“We felt that the focus on early childhood education these days is becoming more and more academic and competitive,” they explained.

“Sometimes we find that kids are pushed at such a young age to only excel in academia, so they miss out on other aspects that are so important in early childhood.”

To build their ideal forestry school, they looked for two or three things: a house with a huge garden that felt right at home and had a nice owner, which they found with their current location in Bukit Damansara.

Although they were founded in 2018, Rimbun officially opened its doors to students in January 2019. They are currently operating with a team of 7 people.

Due to the small size of their team, they only accommodate 20-25 students at a time, ages 3-6. Most of the children in their school stay in the area.

“Our intention at this point is not to exceed our comfort level, we like to have a close relationship with our students and their families,” they shared.

Learn all they can under the sun

Each day the children of Rimbun will be in the garden for about an hour doing just about anything you can learn in a garden.

They make up the scraps of food, learn how to plant and care for plants, how to harvest them, etc. None of the children are required to participate in any of these activities, as they can participate in the activity of their choice according to their interests.

Learning to Garden and Feed Chickens / Image credit: Rimbun Montessori

Besides their school food scraps, they even encourage parents who don’t have a compost bin at home to pick up their food scraps and put them in school compost bins.

Rimbun hosts weekly gardening sessions planned and facilitated by Eats, Shoots & Roots, an organization that helps city dwellers convert their spaces into edible gardens and creates outdoor classrooms for environmental education. They are also Rimbun partners and are part of their core team.

In addition to facilitating these outdoor classes, the team are also responsible for the upkeep and upkeep of their garden to ensure that it is always lush and fruitful.

This is because the children of Rimbun love to pick fruit from the trees and eat them directly or take them home to share with their families.

On the impact of this approach on their students, Pui Lin and Dahlia noticed that the children were not afraid of insects or worms or even getting dirty while playing in the garden.

“They are also more aware of where their food comes from, of the efforts made to produce their vegetables and to have more appreciation for it,” they shared.

Using their senses to learn more about nature / Image credit: Rimbun Montessori

Socket Online outdoor learning during MCO

While outdoor learning had shown wonders to their students, MCO unfortunately made all this fun short lived. They had to start thinking about how to virtually incorporate outdoor learning for their children.

“With our approach, children learn using different physical / sensory materials, and everything is very practical. Going virtual made it very difficult because it went against what we firmly believed in.

They always wanted to maintain a two-way interaction between themselves and the kids, and didn’t want to just give them spreadsheets.

Therefore, they created weekly learning kits that parents would pick up from school and ask children to do the hands-on activities with them on the screen.

For a planting activity, they included soil and seeds for them as well as fresh mints from their garden to teach them how to make their own lemon mint cooler.

Another kit they donated contained dough for the kids to learn how to make their own pizza. Sometimes these kits include arts and crafts supplies, like their batik painting kit.

Have lessons on Zoom / Image credit: Rimbun Montessori

Once the pandemic is over, they hope they can organize school vacation programs with Eats, Shoots & Roots for more children, including those not going to Rimbun.

“It’s important for parents to believe in this approach, as well as to maintain a relationship of trust with them,” Pui Lin and Dahlia shared with Vulcan Post.

“It really takes a community to raise a child, shared efforts, and we are so grateful that the parents in our school have supported us so much throughout the AGC period and have been very open to any changes that are taking place. occur.

Conclusion: Turns out my dad wasn’t the only one who liked the idea of ​​children being able to play outside as part of their learning experience. These kids have already started well with experiences that I only learned in college.

  • You can read more about Rimbun Montessori here.
  • You can read other education related articles that we have written here.

Featured Image Credit: Pui Lin and Dahlia, Rimbun Montessori Co-Founders

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Jothi Venkat

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