Luohu Social Innovation Center (Laotu) (Shenzhen)
Waldkindergarten Eichhörnchen (Germany)
We would like to exchange on the different methods and practices of environmental education, spe-cifically forest education, with children and adults in Germany and China. Waldkindergarden Eichhörnchen and Laotu are both leading organizations of environmental education in their respective countries. Through our previous meeting in Germany, we found that Waldkindergarden Eichhörnchen has developed some of the best education models which could be practiced worldwide. Our research and work experience in China also showed that, Chinese children and young adults are especially lacking opportunity to experience nature, and this need could be met by introducing forest education from Waldkindergarden Eichhörnchen.
About the Twinning organizations
Laotu is dedicated to China’s rural sustainable development through storytelling. Based on storytelling, Laotu provides rural farmers who work on sustainable agriculture with marketing and sales channels to urban consumers with fair trade, policy advocacy (for the Tenth Year anniversary of the 2008 Wenchuan Massive Earthquake and the first national park in China) and exhibition curator for environmental awareness and cultural conservation, environmental education trips such as Open Course in Mountain, urban-rural population equal empowerment programs such as Shenzhen Nature Course, and multi-media storytelling of new rural development. We also see a lot of connections between rural problems and urban issues as we put headquarter in the metropolis Shenzhen.
Waldkindergarden Eichhörnchen was founded 23 years ago. It was the second Waldkindergarten (forest kindergarten) founded in Germany. We are the first Waldkindergarten, which is also opened in the afternoon. Our days with the children start 7:30 in the morning when our kindergarten teachers and the children take the public bus to our forest. From the bus station, we walk with the children to our places in the forest. In the forest the children play, look for insects and other little animals, carve wooden sticks, build little huts of wooden sticks, build little landscapes for gnomes or for the insects they found. Our kindergarten currently has 20 children. Two of them are disabled and with special needs. We have five teachers, including one trainee and one specialized in education for disabled children.