Experiential Education for Underprivileged Students
A wide body of scholarly research has documented the benefits to children of experiential learning, especially to their confidence, self-esteem and leadership abilities. Examples of experiential learning could include teaming up with peers to make model buildings, taking a field trip to a local museum, or simply playing games that require organization and teamwork. But the unfortunate reality is that the poor children who stand to gain most from this sort of learning generally have the least access to it.
So we were thrilled to spend last Saturday afternoon providing health and wellness experiential activities to a group of particularly needy students from our home city of Kunming who come from challenging family situations or face developmental disabilities.
To identify students who stood to benefit from this program, we worked with Heart-to-Heart Community Care, an NGO which aims to “help migrant workers to work and live with dignity”, which works with a number of local schools that serve the children of migrant laborers and other underserved students. Providing absolutely indispensable support for this project was The Nature School (TNS), an experiential learning center based in southern Kunming and whose owner goes by the nickname Little Donkey.
Donkey donated an entire weekend afternoon of his own time and the support of several of his staff members, forgoing revenue from paying customers to teach this group of needy children some fundamentals of living healthy through physical activity, basic fitness drills, rock climbing and rappelling. He also talked to the students about his own path from his youth in a poor countryside family to his current status as a successful small business owner. Dali Bar founder Colin Flahive also led the students through camping and emergency first aid activities.
Many thanks to Heart-to-Heart and TNS for making this incredible afternoon happen, we had a great time!