Fieldtrip to Monastery Yields Rewards for All Involved

In mid-January, 74 students, seven teachers, three staff members, and three parents took a field trip to a monastery to see a real-world example of sustainability and leadership, the topics they have been learning about in module two of the sustainability curriculum. The fieldtrip began with an introduction from Brother Fidele, the Principal of the Monastery Hostel. The students toured various components of the monastery, including the carpenter’s workshop, the chicken coop and barn, the garden, the store, and the water tower.

On the way to the monastery

On the way to the monastery

Brother Fidele answering questions from students

Brother Fidele answering questions from students

The agronomist explaining

The agronomist explaining

Throughout the visit, the students applied their observational skills, asking Brother Fidele and the agronomist insightful questions. Brother Fidele was amazed by the flood of questions from the students. “I understood that this is a very active youth from questions that these child asked,” he remarked. “This proves they have received proper training and that the visit was not a tourism.” One student asked about the conflict resolution process at the monastery and others asked about the technical aspects of running a homestead, such as threats to plants.

The students’ overarching assignment was to gather information individually and then come together in small groups to share their observations to write a journal article and think about a larger, post-field trip presentation. The teachers and parents assisted the students in the observational process, helping them to note aspects of the visit that they could incorporate into the post-field trip presentation. The engagement of teachers and parents in the learning process strengthens both the experience and understanding of the students and the larger community. One of the parents commented on their satisfaction after moving their child from another school to College des Savior: “Really, I have no words to say.  I do not know what to say. I’m impressed with the quality of the CS education.”

The students displayed their creativity by ending the field trip with poems. They wrote and presented haikus as a gesture of thanks to the monastery for hosting the fieldtrip.

From Beya Beya's group:

We visited the deli.
We visited the initiation house.
We say thank you.
 

From Kanonange's group:

The Monastery is pretty.
An example for our lives.
Thank you for the initiative.

 

From Kashila's group:

The beautiful green garden.
It is always well watered .
I want to know everything.

 

From Malula's group:

1.  Oh ! My God !
What a joy to see good things
I have never seen in my life.
 
2. Oh ! My God !
What a joy to have a good school like the College des Savoirs.
because it teaches us good things.
I saw the Monastery with the College des Savoirs’ help.
Working on the haikus in small groups

Working on the haikus in small groups

Presenting a haiku

Presenting a haiku

The integration of the students into community lives and initiatives exemplifies the importance of the sustainability curriculum. Not only are students learning about and living out sustainability in the sense of environmental awareness, but they are also engaging with sustainability in terms of building a long-lasting, deep-reaching legacy of service learning.