Kavikonj Nature School

First I would like to write a bit about what “nature school” is.
By now more than 75% of Iranians live in urban areas and children interaction with nature is highly lost. Being disconnected of nature, will not only result in a wide range of behavioral problems and many learning process malfunctions but also the health of our mother nature will be highly at risk.
Recent studies shows pro-environmental views and behaviors are highly associated with engagement between children and direct experiences in nature at the critical age of 5 to 11 and surprisingly environmental education in childhood has no meaningful effect on pro-environmental behaviors in adulthood (http://www.outdoorfoundation.org/pdf/NatureAndTheLifeCourse.pdf).

Recently a great book is translated into Persian which provides scientific evidences for consequences of disengagement between children and direct experiences in nature; named “Children and Nature” by Stephan R. Kellert and Peter Kahn, translated by H. Vahabzadeh and A. Hosseinian.
children and nature cover-web
To give the opportunity of interaction with nature in our new lifestyle we have taken the idea of Hossein Vahabzadeh (a top ecologist, my beloved friend and master) and have started a venture / social business to promote taking children to natural areas, by educating families on great benefits of being in nature for children and parents and also introducing a practical solution (considering our current lifestyle) which we call it “Nature School“.
This is the mindset behind Kavikonj Nature School in Mashhad, the first of the type in the country.
Kavikonj Nature School consists of wild areas beside a small organic farm (some pieces of land for planting, some animals such as dogs, cats, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, pigeons and etc) all located inside Mashhad, the second big city of Iran. When children come to our nature school, they are free to have any self-initiated activity in this natural environment, the opportunity that children ever had, from million years ago up to few decades back.
We also see our nature school as an alternative / new education method and some parents are now enrolling their children at Kavikonj Nature School as a pre-school education center and also some are approaching us to enroll their children at our nature school instead of primary school.
Up to now many from other cities including Tehran, Isfahan, Rasht, Ahwaz, Shiraz and etc have traveled to visit and know more about Kavikonj Nature School. I am proud to see few of them has started their nature school in recent months.
After lifting sanctions I left Kavikonj to get back to saffron export field (I am coming from saffron farming background). But now voluntarily I share the lessons learnt in Kavikonj to those who want to start and run a similar venture in his/her city.

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