Even on a Saturday, six-year-old Saravanan loves to come to school so that he never misses out watching the new fountain in his school garden. Five-year-old Parvathy now has a favourite place in her classroom, the wall that sports a painting of her beloved cartoon character.

Beautifully painted classrooms, green gardens with water fountains, a mini ‘zoo’ with rabbits, tortoises, and lovebirds… there is more than one reason for the students at the Government Lower Primary and Nursery School, Mettukada, to love their school. No wonder, the school was recently selected as one of the best 20 schools for the Wonderla Environment and Energy Conservation Award 2012.

While the beautification was done as part of the City Corporation’s project to make government schools child-friendly, the enthusiasm of the teachers and parents to build a creative environment for their children resulted in the ‘mini zoo.’

From feeding the birds and animals, to taking care of the cleaning process, a few dedicated teachers and parents have shouldered the responsibilities of the mini-zoo.

“Everyday, including holidays, someone has to be present at the school to take care of the animals. Children also look forward to taking home the bunnies and have a good time taking care of the animals,” said A.S. Mansoor, teacher-in-charge.

A private service organisation sponsored the animals and with the help of local NGO members, the school authorities have succeeded in giving a complete makeover to the school.

Headmistress C. Geetha pointed out that they had been able to utilise the government funds efficiently to provide a friendly environment for the children.

“The kindergarten section has registered 56 new admissions this year, the highest so far. This was possible only because of the dedication of parents and teachers,” she added. The school authorities are looking forward to the upcoming children’s park, the work on which has already begun. The Rs.3-lakh project to be set up adjacent to the kindergarten section would have the latest play equipment and is expected to be completed before April. Here too, teachers have played an active role in the design and landscaping for the play area, added Ms. Geetha.