Field trips are much anticipated at The Satsang Vidyalaya. Early in the term, children begin to ask where the year’s field trips will be. For several of our children, these trips are the one of the few outings they have from their neighbourhoods. It becomes essential then to ensure trips provide avenues for learning, as well as fun in a novel setting. This year, we made two field trips: Grades 4-6 visited Horsley Hills, and Grades 7-9 visited Prakruthivanam, a natural farm.
Grades 4-6 at Horsley Hills
On a brisk March morning, Grades 4-6 set out for Horsley Hills—a small hill station outside of Madanapalle. As the morning traffic of the town gave way to the highway, and then the final winding drive up the hill, the excited chatter of children settled into hushed tones at the views with the occasional squeal of delight at the sighting of “blackface monkeys”, aka langurs. A quick breakfast of jam and butter-buns later, they were off to India Point, where the vista of rolling hills and expansive plains resembles the shape and topology of India. Next up were the animals at the small zoo: deer, emus, peacock, rabbits, tortoises, and crocodiles always thrill the children. A small aquarium elicited animated questions on the variety of coloured fish. A visit to the Nature Study Centre was considered complete only after a roll down the little grassy knoll adjacent to it. A delicious lunch of vegetable rice, raita, oranges, and patties, was followed by games, song and dance—a day well-spent amidst nature.
Classes 7-9 at Prakruthivanam
Classes 7-9 visited a natural farm on the outskirts of Madanapalle. A short bus ride took them to Prakruthivanam— a farm home to cows, several species of birds and plants, and an excellent setting to learn about composting, rainwater harvesting, and organic farming. First up, we met with Mr Prasad, an engineer by training, who established Prakruthivanam. He held the students in rapt attention as he spoke about different water sources and testing methods for purity and mineral content. Next up was a discussion on air quality and food quality. This was followed by a guided tour of the farm where we saw equipment for extraction of essential oils, as well as traditional methods for oil extraction.
Several of our students were excited to see a large-scale production facility for making raw sugar from sugarcane as they have seen this only on smaller scales at their villages. They also observed the process of soap-making, and mechanised de-husking and sorting of grains. Lunchtime was accompanied by singing. The long walk back to the bus-stand against a backdrop of fields and the setting sun was a time of contemplation about the experiences of the day. Suddenly, a few dark clouds began to gather, and as it started to rain, our bus arrived. All the way back to school, there was renewed excitement, chatter, song, and dance on the bus.
A diverse variety of experiences defined the field trips this academic year. We look forward to more!
— The Teachers of The Satsang Vidyalaya, Madanapalle