When I was teaching, back in the spring, I was asked to write an article for the ‘Footprints’ publication which is the Diocese of Norwich’s quarterly magazine. They wanted some background on why I had setup the school farm and where I would like to take it in the future. I had a 250 word limit which means I could not go into as much detail as I would have hoped. Here is the article.
I started to set up our school farm (called ‘The Ark’) in the winter of 2015, with the aim to improve outcomes for our children and to engage them with their learning. In just over a year we have added goats, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs to our farm, with the hope to grow and develop it further over the next few years. We raised the chickens from eggs in our year three classrooms. It was quite surreal teaching the children with little chickens cheeping away in the background, but the children loved it. As a school we watched them grow and develop and learned how to care for and look after them.
We have children out on the farm most days. They engage in it in a number of ways. We have whole classes using it to support their work with habitats, writing information texts, observational drawing and we even had children weighing and measuring the animals to collect data for maths. The goats have even become something of a celebrity in the school, managing to take a starring role in the KS1 nativity. Groups of children take it in turns to put the animals to bed each night with the help of our newly appointed farm hand, Emma, who works afternoons to help support the children and staff when using the farm.
The farm has become an integral part of life at Peterhouse and the children are learning new skills from it everyday – skills which are not always taught in the national curriculum but ones which are important in making them exceptional members of the communities they live in.
If you have any questions about ‘The Ark’ please feel free to comment below and I’ll try to answer them as much as possible.