Published: 08th June 2022
World Ocean Day: Two students and a naturalist to launch a book that turns beaches into learning spaces
The book reviewed by TNIE has about 24 innovative interactive activities like a fish market classroom, nature journaling at the beach, winds and cardinal directions and so on
Two final-year zoology students and a naturalist have created Seashells — a book that converts beaches and ocean into extraordinary learning spaces offering lessons that go beyond schools or classrooms.
The young authors, Aswathi Asokan, Nikkitha Terasa, of Stella Maris College, and Yuvan Aves, all from Palluyir Trust for Nature Education, have been conducting workshops and shore walks for children, educators and the public on Chennai’s beaches for years. Yuvan, who also works with the Madras Naturalist Society, has worked on documenting coastal biodiversity and the protection of coastal landscapes like Pulicat, Kaliveli, Kovalam, and Adyar Estuary.
According to Yuvan, "Seashells is part of our work to make nature-based learning and establishing a deep relationship with the living world a cultural practice of our education. The book will be launched on June 8 on World Ocean Day. It will be available for free download on our website."
The book reviewed by TNIE has about 24 innovative interactive activities like a fish market classroom, nature journaling at the beach, winds and cardinal directions, lifecycle of sea creatures, reading the sand, and beach waste audit and so on.
The authors said the volume was designed keeping in mind primary and elementary school kids in the age group of 3 to 13 years, but most of the activities are age-agnostic and applicable for anyone including adults. It is specially designed for those who haven’t had these learnings and experiences, they said.
"The Montessori developmental plan, sensitivities of children, Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory, and modern neuroscience that links learning in nature to children’s holistic physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development were applied in designing these activities," Nikkitha Terasa said.
Aswathi Asokan said a lot of background work and research went into putting together these activities. "I vividly remember our initial research, reading the work of alternative educators, and collecting the syllabi of different boards of education in Tamil Nadu to create inclusive, experiential and exciting activities in the coastal landscape which also aligns with the academic requirements of young students. I really believe this is a one-of-its-kind activity book, bringing together a variety of experiences, skills and so much fun for any age or background while evoking a feeling of belonging to the beach and the ocean."