Sunday, 21 May 2017

A field trip to the farm

Last week we took the children to the agriculture unit at the back of our college. We observed the animals and explored the vegetable gardens.  
Earlier in the term, Prep teachers had shared observations and experiences with children around our tyre gardens and the children's interest in digging and planting. The chidlren had shared ideas about planting a vegetable garden. As it is now the season to plant and we have several garden beds ready for planting, we thought a trip to the school 'farm' might be a helpful experience to build on the children's interest and develop some ideas about growing vegetables. 
On our return we had the children draw the things they noticed on their farm visit. 
  Many children noticed the animals. Some children particularly noticed the things growing in the vegetable garden and orchard. I was particularly excited by this child's drawing, which included the entire journey and was portrayed from a topographical perspective. I thought that was really interesting and challenging for a young person to represent.

Surprisingly . . . or not surprisingly . . . almost all of the children noticed . . . the poo! In fact, they became quite fixated on it. Some of the children only drew poo! At first, I wanted to steer away from this and not take it seriously. But, as an early childhood educator we are taught to follow children's interests and wonderings because learning is deeper and more meaningful when it comes from the child. Besides, the whole point of the drawing exercise was for the children to represent what they had noticed; what mattered to them.
So, we have been discussing possible lines of planning that build on the fascination with the animal droppings - perhaps we can explore how farmers and gardeners recycle animal poo to help things grow. This would also tie into the observations made earlier in the term with children digging for worms and discussing worm farms.
It would be a great way to lead into explorations about sustainability, composting and recycling.

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