A Harvest in the Rice field, Rich in Knowledge
Spring sowing, summer plowing, autumn harvesting, and winter storing: These are our continuing commitments to Mother Earth. Yuan Longping once said, “The closer you are to the earth, the farther you can see the sky.” At the beginning of November, our Primary School teachers prepared a special lesson for the students, where the walls of the classroom were replaced by fields, and nature was the instructor. All the teachers and primary school students visited the rice field near our campus to watch the rice harvest and to collect long ears of rice.
Since they were very little, children in cities are taught to not waste their food, but few people know why food is so precious. Nature is our best teacher, and students became like little farmers, beginning to tirelessly explore the rice fields. After experiencing the fields first-hand, they began to understand the true meaning of “every single grain is the fruit of hard work”.
Sunshine, grass, children and smiles formed a most beautiful picture of the countryside. Under the clear sky and white clouds, students watched with interest as the harvester rumbled by and the yellow rice was continuously loaded into the hopper. The students and the farmers together experienced the joy of a bumper harvest. Children’s curiosity is the most precious treasure of childhood. Students had the chance to walk around in nature, enabling them to return to the countryside, explore the earth, experience the autumn harvest, and immerse themselves in the environment.
For the first time, the Grade 1 students got to observe the rice fields with their teachers, appreciating the fragrance of rice as well as learning the story of a grain of rice. Everything in the rice field was very new to them, and the children were enthralled throughout the whole process. They learned about the staple food we live on by looking, smelling, touching, and playing.
Grade 2 students picked rice in order to carefully observe the rice ears. The competition to see who could peel off the husk of the rice ears as quickly as possible was fierce! They experienced the fun of changing rice ears into rice and created their own rice paintings.
Under the guidance of the teachers, Grade 3 students walked through the vegetable garden, tuning-in their five senses, coming in close contact with the land, and understanding the true cyclical nature of food. In classes, they read the story of rice, by which they understood the different meanings of wheat in Chinese and Western cultures.
With joy and happiness, Grade 4 students scurried through the bounteous fields. Through looking, reading, and writing, students gradually understood the cultural heritage through the cultivation of rice.
Grade 5 students lingered in the rice fields, learning about the rice cultivation process – farmers driving the harvester, rolling the rice ears which then separated the ears from the stems. At last, the ears became rice, grain by grain. The process of sowing the seeds is complicated, requiring the farmers to spare no effort and material resources to cultivate and harvest. Meanwhile, students learned Qian Jue’s “Jiang Xing” with great enjoyment: “Frost has fallen on the leaves, the rice by the river has matured, and farmers are busy harvesting. Old stream and yellow rice ripe, a night of dreams fragrant.” Just like the beautiful scenery laid bare before our eyes, the harvest season has arrived. It seemed to cover the earth with a golden carpet; the farmers are busying themselves harvesting with smiles on their faces. We imagine that we could even smell the fragrance of golden valleys while we sleep!
Happily, students at SUIS Qingpu can admire the treasured rice fields on the way to and from school every day. Every time, the children can’t help but hum the song “Fragrant Rice” by Jay Chou, throwing themselves into the embrace of nature and living a wonderful life side-by-side with the Earth.