Walking the talk - Taking pupils to a local farm on foot
Resource: Case study
Takeley Primary School in Hertfordshire takes around 60 of its pupils to the local organic farm via the public footpaths. A mile and a half walk, the school has incorporated some nifty curriculum activities along the way to keep the children engaged.
What they've achieved
Situated in Takeley, a village near Bishop’s Stortford and Stansted Airport, Takeley Primary has been involved with the Food for Life Partnership since the beginning. Awarded Silver in November 2010, the school has developed strong links with local organic farm Little Canfield. The school takes Years 4 and 5 to the farm together, totalling around 60 pupils per visit, and each pupil gets to visit the farm a total of six times in their school career.
Takeley decided against paying for transport, instead making use of the public footpaths to get the children to the farm. Walking and taking in the scenery is not every child’s favourite thing to do, so Kim Griffiths, a teacher at the school, along with Ken Wooding and James Rea from Little Canfield Farm, have devised a programme of activities for the pupils as they walk the one and a half miles to the farm. And since the children visit the farm so often, they’ve had to ensure that no activity is repeated in a two-year cycle.
Kim, Ken and James have cleverly incorporated curriculum linked topics, such as plant germination, map reading, soil structures and heritage. Activities range from blackberry picking to scavenger hunts, orienteering and wildlife surveys.
Back at school, Kim always makes sure that everything learned at the farm is followed up and linked to other elements of the Food for Life Partnership. For example, pupils who have picked blackberries on the way to the farm use them to make a crumble back at school - an ingenious and practical way to follow the Food for Life Partnership journey from farm to plate.
What they say
Kim Griffiths says:
‘The benefits of visiting the farm several times over the year are manifold. The children have a better appreciation of the seasons and how that affects the countryside and environment. They are learning topics, such as habitats, outdoors where the habitat is, which makes it much more relevant. In our case, as they walk to the farm, they are getting fresh air and exercise and exploring their neighbourhood. They are learning about organic farming principles and practices from the farmer who lives it every day. And best of all – the children love it!"
Download Takeley's farm links programme of activities here.