The world is our classroom
Discovering The Philippines
-Tvind dagskole trip, March 2018-
Chinese philosophy says: “Rather travel a thousand miles than read thousands of books“. H.C. Andersen wrote, “To travel is to live“. Tvind pedagogy says: “The world is our classroom“. Therefore, study trips are always featured as highlights in our program.
As a DI and as a worker in the small schools the idea of traveling is the basis of our program and the philosophy behind our learning and teaching method.
Working in Tvind day school I had the opportunity to join an amazing trip, that this year saw the students travel to the incredible land of The Philippines.
We spent the first week with Stairway foundation, a non-stock, non-profit, non-governmental child care organization located in Puerto Galera, on the island of Oriental Mindoro. Stairway provides an alternative program for the most marginalized and endangered street children in The Philippines giving them a new chance for a better future.
Together with the 15 boys that are now living in the family home, we spent seven amazing days, discovering their shocking backgrounds and experiencing the energy and the happiness that, despite all their troubles, they share with the other people.
The work of the association also includes an environmental program, that takes place at several different levels and locations, and that made it possible for us to experience a floating classroom and coral reef snorkelling, as well as a visit to the Stairway Organic Farm and to an indigenous Batagayan village.
This week made both our knowledge and our consciousness develop a lot, about various topics, and also made it possible also for our students to be really involved with many different things.
But what I will mostly bring back with me is the memory of the time spent with these unforgettable boys.
Ate and Cuya, they called each other: brother and sister, and in this way they made us all feel part of a big family. The contagious laughter and the power of these kids brought out the best in all of us and showed new and surprising sides of our students.
It was really hard when the time came to say goodbye to them arrived and we started our trip, to discover the other realities of the country. So we moved to the Batagan region where we first stayed in Tagaytay and made an excursion to the Taal volcano.
The next stop was Calatagan city where we spent four days enjoying the crystal sea and the company of the politest and most social people that I ever met. Speaking every day with the street vendors,and villagers meant we could better understand the local life, investigating the reality of the area.
Finally, we spent the last three days in the capital Manila, the city with the highest population densityin the world where antiquity and modernity meet each other in a mix of influences that show the past colonial influences.
High levels of pollution, expensive buildings surrounded by kids asking for some pesos and sniffing glue, families that are living on the streets, teenagers accompanied by old tourists in the room of the 5 stars hotels… a hard reality slapped our pale chubby faces. The few days spent in this crowded and vibrant capital made us really understand the necessity of associations as Stairway to give to the youngest the possibility for a dignified life.
These are exactly the things that you cannot learn from any book. This study trip gave a kind of knowledge to our students, and to me in the first person, that you can never get from any classroom.
Making the students go outside their comfort zone was a long process, especially for some of them that have several difficulties to face the reality outside Tvind in general. But the incredible connection with the people that we met there made it, not only possible but great, an incredible experience which our students still speak about and for sure will never forget.
So, the world is our classroom.
by Greta Lupieri, Italy