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A Primary School Campus That Grows Out of Nature


Kids at the Qinghe Campus of Tongxin Primary School started the new semester by reaping cornstalks. Sun-dried cornstalks were stacked up next to the blooming flowers of legumes before being made into fertilizer for the soil they grew out of. Surrounded by high-rise buildings, the campus was built into an oasis in the urban area for kids to live in nature.

Children are reaping cornstalks in the field. (Photo/Qin Bo, Tongxin Primary School)

More than three acres of farm fields scatter within the campus, where seasonal crops and vegetables grow throughout the year.

“Instead of having fixed slots in the school timetable, we follow nature’s course and let kids participate in farm works as it happens,” said Qin Bo, principal of Tongxin Education Group.

“Letting nature take its course” is the most-valued educational philosophy of the campus. Qin said nature has its own way, and when we hold respect and adoration for it, we are likely to live our life more elegantly.

“Also, nature is a great teacher for love, confidence, and enthusiasm for life, and that is what we hope our kids will learn during primary school and lay a solid foundation for their future development,” he added.

There are around 30 multi-functional venues on the campus for kids to learn, handcraft, and exhibit their works. (Photo/Guo Shuyu, Liangjiang New Area Media Center)

A mini ecosystem is taking shape on the campus after years of cultivation. The roof-top farm field has become a popular spot for wild birds. Teachers will take kids to the field for a bird-observation class when the season comes.

“It happens when kids wait for a long time but not seeing a single bird coming,” Qin said. “That’s how nature works, and the waiting is also a beautiful experience of nature.” 

Teachers are showing students some farming labors. (Photo/Qin Bo, Tongxin Primary School)

Zou Haoting, a fourth grader, enjoys his time on the farm field, especially during the canola season.

“We observe the plant with a magnifier, and I draw about the canola field in my painting class,” he said. “I also found dandelions at a corner of the campus; they are my favorite. Dandelions look beautiful and have an interesting way of spreading seeds.”

“With just one puff, the seeds will flutter away and grow,” He said. “It’s like a toy sent by nature.”

A widely acknowledged theory in education is that nature wants children to be children before being men.

“Kids are innocent, curious, and truth-telling; that’s what our adults should learn from kids and what we are trying to preserve on our campus,” said Qin. “We hope that six years of primary school living in nature can cultivate their personality and prepare them for what the future may hold.”

(This article is written by Guo Shuyu, Liangjiang New Area Media Center.)


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