An amazing thing (among many!), at least for me, happened during the field work our group had for The Workshop 2015 (19th Praxis Commune for Participatory Development), In Bangalore, India. The facilitators wanted at least each of the four foreign participants to join different groups. I was luckily made part of this awesome group composed of Shaiju, Nidhi, Nancy, Nitin and Afsar. Shaiju proposed for the group to be named Phil-Indies, marrying the names of the two countries represented.
Anyway, the most unforgettable thing for me, which quickly affirmed what I believed and has been trying to spread to my network is this: children need nature. And in this specific example, they need it in the form of trees. It was my first time to work with kids and I found them intelligent and candid. They knew exactly what they wanted and were quite persuasive about them. They identified 19 indicators of what they think a good school should have, and the top 5 was trees. I was struck by it. It was something that could only come from a child. Parents, as well as teachers and so-called education experts, could never even think or come up with it. For kids, a good school should have trees. Plain and simple.
I consider myself a student of Richard Louv on his seminal work on Child and Nature Reunion. Since I read the book Last Child in the Woods several years ago, I have been following his blog and facebook posts. For me, what came from the kids was a clear affirmation of what Richard Louv has been saying all along, coming straight from the mouth of babes. But even better, it came from the real experts, the children who see that trees are important in their life, in their school. As a primary data, what could be more valid than that?