This summer, the Kyoto Model Forest Association (KMFA) held an online “Forest Classroom” to support children during their summer holidays under the restrictions due to the pandemic, and to encourage them to get interested in forests. Many elementary school students within Kyoto applied, and the KMFA sent a set of DIY clock kits and “forest classroom” textbooks to 60 children.
The online “Forest Classroom,” which was the first virtual trial for KMFA, was held separately for students from the lower and upper grades on Saturday, August 8. The above 10 children participated each time.
Let’s Learn the Names of Various Trees and Befriend Them!
For Students from the Lower Grades
In the morning, Mrs. Kuyama from the Kyoto Forest Instructor Association introduced five tree species
that were familiar to the students. While listening to the story of various trees such as cherry blossom,
cedar, cypress, pine, and camphor tree, the children observed the leaves that were sent in advance, following the guidance of the instructor. They also enjoyed several quizzes about forests and trees, through which they learned about the characteristics of each tree and how trees are connected with our daily lives in various ways.
Learn About the Multiple Functions of Forests!
For Students from the Upper Grades
In the afternoon, Mr. Shinobe, the chairman of the Kyoto Forest Instructor Association and the director of the KMFA, gave a lecture on the multiple functions of forests to children aged 10-12 years. The children learned about the various functions of forests while listening to the instructor, and answered some difficult quizzes along the way. They listened to the lecture attentively and also had a question-and-answer session.
Make Your Original “Forest Clock” Out of Local Wood
After the lectures, the children watched a video about making a “Forest Clock” out of
Japanese cedar from the forests in Kyoto.
Comments From the Participants and Their Work
- I was nervous because it was my first time doing online classes, but I became aware that forests play a huge role in protecting us from disasters. While building the clock, I felt as if I was in a forest with materials that came from the forest.
- My kids were very excited, and they worked happily, saying, “I’ll line up the materials neatly according to the video. Mom, you just need to watch me building it by myself!”
- Making handicrafts was not assigned as a homework task this summer, but she decided to write a diary entry about the classroom with photos.
- The instructor explained that forests prevent disasters such as soil erosion or floods, and after learning that mechanism, my daughter told me that she found it very interesting. In addition, the material for the clock had a nice woody scent and I enjoyed it as it filled the room.
- Building a clock with the kit you sent me was fun! I am looking forward to bringing it to school!
- My five-year-old daughter enjoyed the online session with her seven-year-old sister. It was great to see my daughters getting interested in nature. Thank you for offering this valuable opportunity.
This project was subsidized by the “Green and Water Forest Fund” of the National Land Afforestation Promotion Organization, Japan.