Emotional and Ecological learning is an interrelated subject which derives inspiration from nature, and works towards behavioral change through various processes of engagement, communication and activities. The teaching is based on introspection and reflecting on one’s own behaviour. GFF Nepal has initiated various activities to enhance these qualities in children.
The Nepal team has primarily worked on developing emotional and ecological intelligence in the children of Bal Kuamri School in Kathmandu and Teen Ghare School in Kavre (a rural area 75km away from Kathmandu) by running workshops, led by GFF rep Minket. The children in these schools come from underprivileged backgrounds, and many have had traumatic experiences in their past, resulting in underdeveloped emotional intelligence. Similarly, the children in these areas are subject to ecological problems, such as an acute water shortage in Kavre following the 2015 earthquake. So, the workshops aim to develop ecological and emotional intelligence in the children in a fun and supportive environment.
The sessions revolve around five key themes that each aim to develop emotional/ecological intelligence, these being; cooperation, the value of safe touch, telling stories through art, telling stories through nature, and possibilities. In these sessions, the children are also taught to be aware of their environment and resource infrastructure through intuitive activities. These inter-related and co-dependent activities will serve the children to be better community builders and work towards ownership of their own resources.
GFF Helps have also run similar sessions in Sreejanshil Rehabilitation and Special Education School for the disabled children in Chandragiri, 16 km away from Kathmandu. The children are disabled, often a neglected part of the society and are deprived of touch and simple human interaction. This school has 20 odd students, and all of them are disabled with various conditions. GFF Helps has been trying to creatively engage with these children and give them a platform to express in various forms like dancing, touching flowers, painting, storytelling and film screening.
Overall, children have found these classes to be fun. The beauty of these classes is that they do not come across as a ‘teaching or learning’ class. This allows them to be non-judgemental and free to express and releases them with the fear of failure. I have noticed that the children have opened up a lot about their past in the sessions, helping to develop their emotional intelligence. I have also received positive feedback from the teachers of Baal Kumari School and Teen Ghare school who have said things such as ‘They find your classes very enjoyable! When will you be free next?’
The head of Sreejanshil School has also given good feedback from the sessions saying that, ‘My children have never been exposed to such sessions. I am very thankful that you have given importance to disabled children. Thank You.’
The GFF Nepal team is aiming to continue to run these sessions while also working with school authorities to better build the themes of emotional and ecological intelligence into the core curriculum and teaching methods.
By Minket Lepcha – GFF Representative