We have had the pleasure of designing and facilitating a course on Earth Stewardship alongside The Kinship Programme for the Indaba Institute’s Community Rooted Education (CoRE) initiative. The CoRE programme supports ECD practitioners to apply Montessori principles and practices in the care and education of children aged 0-6 in underserved and under-resourced communities. The programme also cultivates an understanding of the child’s developmental needs and empowers practitioners to create materials from readily available resources.
The Earth Stewardship module is run as part of the CoRE programme, and is designed to encourage a transformative learning experience for both teachers and children. Transformation is activated by unpacking each individual’s relationship to the earth through art, story-telling and supporting an understanding of each issue in relation to personal wellbeing, the wellbeing of the child and the broader wellbeing of our community and environment. No adult or child is able to effectively learn or ultimately flourish if they are living in a state of stress and so we have subtly but consciously woven healing and mindfulness awareness and practices into every aspect of the curriculum and learning experience.
To date, six Earth Stewardship modules have now been facilitated – reaching over 200 remarkable women in the process. Together, we built rivers, painted, planted and explored concepts such as permaculture, nutrition, and ecosystem services. We have laughed, reflected, and built practices for nourishment and flourishing.
Participants are applying their new knowledge eagerly where they find themselves, establishing vegetable gardens and letting the children spend more time outside, playing in nature. Together they are once again embracing the joy and curiosity of their inner child.
Apart from gaining practical knowledge, many reflected on their personal journeys of change, a reawakening of the importance that Nature holds in our daily lives, our role as stewards of the earth, and how we need to take responsibility for the state of planet earth. There are many small ways to reconnect with Nature that will not only heal the earth, but also nourish the soul in so many ways.
Each week that I attend Earth Stewardship, I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for the women on the course, their life journeys and the strength and courage that they bring to the experience; the earth and all that she gifts us, and the design of the ES module, for the realisation that registers in each participants eyes’ as they begin to see the earth in a different light, and recognise the importance of their own self-nourishment.