About 20 children ages 5-9 listen intently to their teachers as they sang and acted as part of the creative storytelling and visualization of the story “The Garden of Light” whose moral value is about responsibility in caring for the environment.
The Ecofest is the first to be launched in Davao City, in line with June as the environment month. The City Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO), the Watershed Management Council (WMC) and Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) are the major organizers of the event.
Mary Ann Fuentes, IDIS executive director, says the Ecofest was inspired by the separate events made by different groups to celebrate the environment month. “We thought that it would be a great idea to have the environment month celebrated in one place and time,” said Fuentes.
Various groups held booths at the Park for the event, such as Ateneo de Davao University’s ECOTENEO club, which is a pro-environment club under the school’s student government, SAMAHAN.
One of the participants was the Tuburan Institute Inc., which is a Steiner Waldorf inspired school in Davao City. It is a “small, non-stock, non-profit, community based school” whose mission is to “provide an alternative and sustainable model for learning and teaching which draws out children’s natural gift of imagination, creativity, and freedom to live personally and meaningfully.”
It is a humanistic approach to pedagogy based on the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner.
As a chance to teach children about the environment, Tuburan teachers arranged a story telling activity which is open for all children who are willing to participate. The storytelling was accompanied by singing, acting, and movements to make it livelier. All materials for the props were environment-friendly.
Fuentes says [environmental] awareness should be practiced by children at a young age.
Tuburan Institute Teacher “Nurturer” Maureen Villamor says story telling is an effective way to teach children.
“[In Tuburan], we sometimes repeat a story up to 4 times to make sure that they remember it.”
Fuentes finds the influence of TV commercials on children as alarming.
“The children are the hope of our future. Teaching about the environment doesn’t need to be formalized. It can be incorporated in subjects such as chemistry, physics, social sciences.
“We need to convince teachers,” Fuentes said.
For Villamor, teaching is a noble job, and should be taken seriously. “I don’t view my work as a career, I view it as a way of life,” she said.