Experiential Learning on the Farm
Farm as learning arenaDuring one school year primary school pupils visit a farm on a regular basis (approx. 20 sessions during 20 days). Children take part in the daily routine work on the farm, thereby gradually deepening their learning experiences.
The schoolsWhich schools participate? The FarmSchool aims at primary schools. Schools that are interested in developing a curriculum of learning outside the classroom. The farm is a unique learning arena, where children are given a chance to relate to the natural world and develop a sense of love and respect for the earth, the plants and the animals. Schools that are willing to integrate the educational concept of the FarmSchool in their own curriculum. Schools that want to work on integration of subjects as history, geography, reading and writing, math, engineering and craftsmanship. What does the FarmSchool offer? The FarmSchool Foundation assists in initiating a farm-based education project at the school. They help schools to find a suitable farm in the vicinity of the school, and facilitate and monitor the cooperation between teacher and farmer. For this the Farm school has written a manual and developed an educational concept. What are the experiences of the participating schools thus far? "The FarmSchool is a true enrichment of their education". "We have gratefully benefited of the experiences of other schools that work with the FarmSchool". Experiential Learning In the authentic learning environment on the farm children learn in a different way and they learn about other topics than is possible in a school. Students learn at the FarmSchool by doing practical work and work that is necessary to carry out. The work and activities on the farm provide a variety of direct learning experiences for children. This fits in with the various disciplines and targets of the primary school. Various qualities such as handiness, courage and care are needed on a farm. Children are looking back at the farm and in the classroom to their learning experiences. In looking back the children are harvesting their learning experiences.
The farmersWhat kind of farmers participate? The FarmSchool is suitable for all farmers that see a need to share their love for nature, for the earth, the plants, the animals and their enthusiasm for life and work on the farm with children. What does the Farm School offer? The FarmSchool Foundation offers expert guidance, training and advice to farmers who start a FarmSchool. An experienced consultant helps you with advice and support. Questions you can discuss with the consultant are: What do you offer as a program on my farm? How can I work together with the school and the teacher in the best way? What are the do's and don'ts within farm-based education at the FarmSchool? What type of farm-based education fits me and my farm? There also is a manual available for participating farmers. What are the experiences of farmers? "Receiving the children almost weekly on our farm brings many life and vivacity on the farm". "The children make me look in a different way, with more wonder at my own farm".
The childrenWhich children? The FarmSchool is suitable for all children, irrespective of their learning styles or talents. Children who are "picture smart, body smart, word smart, logic smart, self smart, people smart, music smart and nature smart". Children who want to use all their senses; Children prepared to make their hands dirty, whether they like it or not. What does the FarmSchool offer? The FarmSchool offers children a vivid way of learning. The FarmSchool stimulates children to make contact with the natural world by developing caring relationships with soil, plants and animals. The FarmSchool focuses on social relationships, in the sense that children are stimulated to work together. And through physical work children develop a better self understanding, strengthen their willpower and perseverance. What are the experiences of children? "On the farm you operate as a group, everyone's part of it". "Usually there's a lot going on in my mind and then - when I arrive at the farm - things start to ease down (...) Because you're just working outside and loosening up".
The brochure "Levend leren op de Boerderij - Onderwijsconcept Boerderijschool" (Real life learning on the farm- the education concept of the FarmSchool) provides schools understanding over how the real life learning matches the existing pedagogical-didactic policy of the school.