Begawan Foundation Eco-Warriors

In addition to the school short course we introduced the Bali Starling Ambassadors Fun Club in 2016 – an after-school programme on a Friday for the students that we met in schools in Sibang on a formal basis. This informal gathering grew in such numbers that we set up a similar programme on a Saturday afternoon. Students, with parental consent, attend after school on one of these two days, to participate in game based activities to learn more about birds and conservation, and to practice their English skills.

The programme was both fun and interactive, and gave young children the opportunity to meet with children from different schools. The informality of these two groups permitted the foundation staff to approach the topic of conservation with fun activities such as Bali Starling mask making, clay models of endangered animals and natural soap making, to name just a few. Learning about dinosaurs, chocolate, why plastic floats, how it gets to the sea and how rubbish can affect wildlife are all topics of interest.  Learning some words in English is always of interest. It has been surprising how many children are not aware of the location of different islands, Sumatra, Sumba, nor where other countries are in the world. 

An activity to assist the bird keepers on the site also took place on Saturday afternoon, with the goal to interest the young students in the more formal activities on site. Students assisted to wash dishes, chop food and prepare plates for the different enclosures. 

The new Learning Centre in Melinggih Kelod village which runs a variety of after-school programs from Monday to Friday, opened in July 2017 in a small building we called Klub Lingkungan (Community Club), next to our office. Our Bali Starling Eco-Warriors programme continued to grow as we welcomed more new ambassadors. We are incorporating more basic science knowledge into our programme as we have discovered it is lacking in their current school curriculum. Our ambassadors have enjoyed performing experiments with different liquids to learn more about density and buoyancy. One aspect we wish to expand with ambassadors, is to build their confidence during science experiments. We have found many do not wish to make predictions, for fear of their answer being wrong. We actively encourage students to be proud of their predictions, and then we test them out! That is the fun part! Science is all about theories and predictions and even great scientists’ discoveries were made by “Learning by Doing” just like our eco-warriors.

In November 2018, our new spacious Begawan Foundation Learning Centre opened with activities planned every afternoon from Monday to Friday. Literacy and numeracy feature highly, these being two areas where parents want to see success for their children.

Several activities explore books. Books and computers have been donated, and despite the fact that Indonesia rates 61 out of 62 countries in a survey on interest in reading, we see our students eager to sit and read, to discover new facts, to see a world outside their own community. They are learning to use the computers to find additional detail, satisfying their new thirst of knowledge. Maths is also learned through practical activities – as an example, weighing, recording, and tallying our mushroom crop is the task of the students.

Volunteers from the Tourism high school assist in these classes as well as attending the centre for their own after-school activities.

Our Science interest has grown since the first activities at Klub Lingkungan, with visits to the Breeding and Release Centre where the science of birds is studied. Compost, waste, water, plant life, environmental care – all are studied.

The Permaculture garden is also a hit. The students love outdoor garden activities, growing vegetables in garden beds that they prepared themselves, composting, weeding and harvesting crops, some of which were donated to Mount Agung and Lombok earthquake evacuees.

Wednesday is our day for the ‘Waste for English Lessons' project, with each member of the class expected to bring plastic, glass or paper in exchange for lessons. During our first course of 6 lessons, students brought 1,163 items of inorganic waste, the majority of which were plastic bottles and plastic cups. All have been recycled, keeping them out of drains, rivers and eventually the ocean here in Bali. As of December 2019, students have collected a total of 40,973 waste items for recycling! Of these 37,510 are plastic bottles, plastic cups and paper.

In 2020 we commenced a new collaboration with an environmental green movement organisation based in Payangan, Harmoni Parahyangan. Harmoni Parahyangan, which has started a ‘Bank Sampah’ (waste bank), will be guest speakers in our Learning Centre to talk about environment, and will take our recyclable waste collected from our “Waste for English” lesson.

Karate (some yellow belts already), Balinese Dance (even the boys participate) and Cooking classes (practical maths plays a part here) are always popular, as are our holiday programs and performance days. Holiday programs are held twice yearly, as are performances for parents, friends and teachers.

 

During the time of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, our education team has run the ‘Eco Warriors at Home’ program. Students are provided with lessons and activities that they can do at home, including science experiments, growing crops in their own gardens, working with the members of their family compound, maths, English and reflection activities. Where possible students participate in an online program – but this is one area where rural students are lacking in both the access and the materials needed for this to be a success.  The staff also keep in touch through a Whatsapp group - not only with students, but also with parents to make it easier to share information and updates.

This has been a time, however, when the education team themselves can look at the programs and update the curriculum, thus we are working together with an international educational company that focuses on the enhancement and creation of meaningful curriculum. Zaprendo, based in New Zealand and UK, incorporates intellectual, emotional, physical and intrapersonal skills into its educational offerings, to create well rounded educational experiences. 

Our education team will take this opportunity to evaluate its own goals, to build on the way in which we focus on the students who attend our Begawan Foundation Learning Centre in the afternoons.

The contribution of parents to our home activities during these difficult months has been very welcome, and is essential if the family is to assist in the development of their children’s educational attainment and future employment.

Indonesia ranks 67 out of 82 on the Global Social Mobility Report Index 2020, with upward social mobility being the ability for people to see their circumstances becoming better than those of their parents within their own lifetimes.

To this end, we have rewritten our objectives, not only for the students and their parents, but for our own team, who will ensure that what we espouse is what we practice. Accountability is not only for students!

A curriculum of thematic lessons, which look at introspective, active, emotive and cognitive activities is being developed alongside Zaprendo.

With this curriculum in place, Begawan Foundation Learning Centre will:

  • use  teaching strategies that recognise individual rates of learning and different skill levels.
  • support each student’s educational progress using careful assessment and monitoring.
  • use a range of experiential, hands-on, learning experiences.
  • employ introspective, active, emotive, and cognitive learning within an integral thematic approach.
  • develop a love of learning in students that will last a lifetime, regardless of their socio-economic background.
  • use individual student  engagement and evaluation to measure the effectiveness of the learning offered.

At all times, we will ensure also that the following values are adhered to:

  • Truth and Trustworthiness
  • Curiosity
  • Creativity
  • Compassion
  • Initiative
  • Responsibility
  • Commitment

As we progress through 2020, and students are able to return to the Learning Centre, we will record how they and their parents react and participate in our new curriculum.

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