Integrating education and permaculture.
The Leuser Nature School is based at the Bukit Mas restoration and permaculture site, so the school’s students often learn about plants, natural ingredients and permaculture as part of their school syllabus. To ensure the teachers’ and students’ knowledge is up to date, the school management recently invited a trainer from IDEP Foundation to lead a one-day training session on ensuring that the school’s layout and infrastructure fits the permaculture concept. The trainer advised that any fences at the school should be made of snakefruit (Salacca zalacca) and thorned-pineapple trees to prevent wild animals from entering the school, and that citronellas (Cymbopogon nardus) should be planted around the school and along the paths within the school as insect repellent.
Leuser Nature School students often have lessons outdoors, and the teachers used the citronella planting as an opportunity to teach English in an outdoor setting. As the students planted the citronella plants, the teachers asked them questions about what they were doing in English, and the students replied in English.
Further integrating permaculture with their other subjects, the students also learned about The Classification of matter and its changes in grade 7 science by learning the theoretical concepts in the classroom and then observing what happens (changing solids into gases and liquids) at the essential oil distillation unit at Bukit Mas Permaculture Centre.
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