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Schoolchildren beginning to see the value in trees

"Schoolchildren hold the future of the country’s trees’ in their hands” is the message being relayed by teachers’ looking to create more understanding of the importance of the conservation and planting of trees.
Under the shadow of big trees, Xayadeth is enjoying climbing and playing with his friends even though he may not be aware of their importance.
Xayadeth is just 10 years old, at his age it’s difficult to grasp the environmental problems we face as a result of cutting down trees.

Children play under trees at a kindergarten under the Ministry of Education and Sports in Vientiane.

However, when asked how he felt sitting under the tree at school, the boy answered innocently that he felt cooled by the shade of the big trees.
Xayadeth is now studying at Phonsinuan Primary School where he often uses the trees’ shadows to break the heat of the sun and continue enjoying playing with his friends during breaks from classes.
“When I come under the trees at school, I feel like I love them and would like to see more trees growing here,” he said with his arms stretched out like tree branches.
He said he knows they hold some value because his teachers keep telling him to take care of his natural surroundings.
“Teachers said trees provide shade but most importantly oxygen for humans,” Xayadeth said shyly describing what his teacher had advised.
In fact, he was similar to many other children who desperately need to see big green trees in their future.
A girl at another kindergarten under the Ministry of Education and Sports, Vanhthasa, 6, suggested that she likes trees and flowers because they gave her pleasure, watching their beauty.
After school, she says she always helps her parents water the flowers in their garden and that she got into this habit from what her teachers had taught her at school.
A teacher with the Ministry of Education and Sports, Ms Sindavanh Mixay said that teachers play important role in building awareness of schoolchildren to understand the importance of planting trees and protecting them.
Ms Sindavanh said children were the new generation to protect trees, so it was necessary to teach them to love the natural world and avoid damaging them.
She says that children 3-5 years old were at an appropriate age to build activities to encourage them to plant trees and take care of gardens.
She said the school even assigns a room to take care of the trees and garden every morning.
The school has also created a vegetable and herbal garden to help children see the importance in doing activities together.
Ms Sindavanh explained that when they took care of the gardens by themselves, their behaviour changes and they like planting flowers and relaxing with friends under trees.
However, she agreed to have schools in Vientiane create more green space they would also need to encourage the government’s policy to make Vientiane greener.
She explained that some schools are large and have a lot of convenient educational equipment for their studies but that they lack any trees to shade the school which she said could lead students not interested in attending class to become bored more easily when the weather turned hot.
“If schools have a good environment and atmosphere, it will attract students to come to school and play and learn with their friends,” she added.
Now, even though her school still doesn’t have a certificate for being a green school, the school has made efforts to increase its green spaces and to encourage children to inhale fresh air and a pride in themselves to become more green.
The Vientiane Education and Sports Department had launched the Green and Clean Schools Competition in 2006 to encourage schools in Vientiane to become green places and to attract students to enjoy studying and relaxing during their break.
The project chose 500 primary schools and more than 120 lower secondary and secondary schools to partake in appropriate green activities at each school including planting trees.
The project also looked to build youth awareness in forest conservation.
So far, 18 of schools from the general education level and 86 schools in 9 districts from the private and state sectors were selected by the government to be model ‘green and clean’ schools.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update May 29, 2017 )

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