Written by: Meixue Yang
Translated by: H.B. Qin
Edited by: Andrea Barkley
From October 10-14, 2022, Tzu Chi Elementary School, Walnut, California, collaborated with Tzu Chi Life Science Farm to teach students the Tzu Chi philosophy of “Knowing, Cherishing, and Creating.” Character education was reinforced by experiencing plant growth through different themes. Through the teachers’ teaching, students learn to improve the soil, take care of plants’ health, and do their part to protect nature while learning to respect all things and cherish people.
This character education combines classroom lectures and outdoor exercises to teach students to respect life and appreciate blessings. The teacher first explained “contentment” in the classroom and taught the Jing Si aphorism, “Good children should appreciate blessings and eat all their food.” Then the students went to the life science farm to learn about plants and returned to the classroom to make the vegetables or fruits they saw on the farm out of clay.
Students practiced being farmers and learn to pull weeds, plant seeds, fertilize and water the field. Photo/Meixue Yang
In this lesson, Tzu Chi Elementary School students practiced being farmers by hauling organic soil into new piles. They learned to pull weeds, plant seeds, apply fertilizer, and water the field. They also observed that the vegetables they planted the previous week had sprouted, learning to do their part for the Earth and to live in harmony with it.
Many students enjoyed the hands-on gardening part of the ecology course. Ms. Lin, the teacher, shared, “The children enjoyed the activities such as preparing the field, making organic soil, and planting seeds on the farm. I hope they learn that farming can change the environment and weather.”
Last Week's Vegetables Sprouted
Tzu Chi Elementary School student Yanyun Weng shared joyfully, “Last week, I planted vegetables, and one sprouted, so I think others will sprout too. When they grow, I will be happy to eat them and not waste them. Because the farmers and we are working very hard to grow these things, it’s not easy for them to grow.”
Teaching good manners and educating with virtue, Tzu Chi USA has been committed to guiding children in the right direction. Through this character education, it’s hoped that students can understand life’s meaning, cherish life’s preciousness, and create beauty in life.