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Getting in touch with nature at Loyang Primary’s eco garden

25 May 2018

loyang primary school hydroponics

Students trying their hand at growing plants using hydroponic methods. (Photo: Loyang Primary School)

During school hours, the eco garden at Loyang Primary School is typically abuzz with activities.

Besides being the go-to location to play during recess breaks, the garden is primarily a place of learning for students.

As part of the school’s Applied Learning Programme (ALP) in Nature-based Education, students get to see the content in their science textbooks come to life. They would get to observe the flora and fauna in the garden while learning more about them in their Garden App, which uses augmented reality technology.

Besides building their knowledge of biodiversity, students also have an opportunity to try their hand at hydroponic gardening as well as playing a part in the upkeep of the garden.

Beyond participating in activities in the school’s eco garden, students also go on learning journeys to nature-related places of interest, such as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Dairy Farm Nature Park.

The objective of these activities is to encourage students to have an appetite for learning and to instil in them a sense of responsibility in caring for the environment.

“(The programme helps) students become aware of how their actions can impact the environment, and they will recognise the need for conservation,” explains Mrs Ivy Wai, Subject Head of Special Projects in the school’s science department.

“Student leaders will also play an active role in influencing others’ actions on the environment. For instance, Character and Citizenship Education Ambassadors will take charge of collecting recyclables from their respective classes.”

Through the programme, students have opportunities to hone their public speaking skills as well, as they share their knowledge and lessons with people around them.

“I have shared about the Garden App and my knowledge of plants and animals with visitors in school,” says Primary 5 student Ignatius Liw. “This boosted my confidence as I had to speak and present to others.”

For other students, the ALP’s hands-on activities have allowed them to see how their textbook concepts work in real life, making learning more interesting.

“I’ve learned about the life cycle of plants and the process of sowing seeds and the harvesting of vegetables. I also learned how to chart the growth of plants,” shares Primary 5 student Naveena Narella. “I now know how to take care of the plants in my house. I’ve learned beyond the textbook and I find the learning of Science more relevant.”

Meanwhile, Primary 4 student Nadya Hasya Mohammad Salleh has found an interest in nature, and the eco garden in school now has a special place in her heart.

Once a week, she and her peers would head down to the garden to pick up litter. “I do not like to see litter in the garden or pond because I care for the animals,” she explains. “These animals will die if the water in the pond is polluted by rubbish.”