From the teacher: Farm in a Box


 

Farm in a Box. Our experience of bringing the farm to our school family.

Mrs Trish Atkinson. Head Teacher, Scunthorpe Church of England Primary School

 

The Farm in a Box experience is a fantastic resource that brings to the classroom an interactive teaching and learning tool for immersing the children into real-life learning!

At Scunthorpe Church of England Primary School, the majority of the children have never been to a farm. They have no idea of where their food comes from, except the local shop or foodbank. They have only seen animals in a book or on TV and they have certainly not met a real-life farmer or shepherdess. In the highest deprivation area of a traditional steel-making town, the opportunities for green space are minimal. This is one of the reasons the Farm in a Box is just brilliant!

We have worked closely with Verity, our Country Trust Coordinator to make sure she knew what we wanted to achieve through this project for each year group across the school. A key element of the box is that it not only links to the curriculum but also is designed to develop language and communication skills and well-being activities are woven in too. Every child in my school has been completely engrossed in the bespoke activities which have allowed them to explore using their senses and first-hand experiences, along with high-quality activities with all of the resources there, in the Box!

 

My Top tips for using Farm in a Box;

  • Allow time for all staff to look through the resources and plans to make sure the children get the most from the box
  • Ask questions yourself, the continuous professional development opportunity is real for staff too
  • Allow plenty of time, you will need more time than you originally planned for if you embrace the direction the resources and questions may take you
  • Map out a plan for the order you will complete the activities in
  • If you have links with a Country Trust Coordinator, don't be afraid to ask for support. We've found Verity to accommodate our needs - just ask the expert!

 

I was very impressed with the knowledge and understanding of the curriculum demonstrated within each of the Boxes. In Early Years, the wide variety of resources allowed the staff to take the learning into all areas of the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) provision with lots of language and vocabulary building opportunities as well as continuous provision planning and ideas.

In Year Two, the Farm in a Box provided the catalyst for further learning experiences in many different curriculum areas such as making bread, retelling the story of The Little Red Hen and creating a graph to record the data collected from a survey.

Further up the school, the staff used the Farm in a Box to enhance careers week. The Box contained a 'day in the life of a farmer', accessible information and a ready to go presentation about the range of jobs in agriculture and advice on the qualifications and routes the children could take. This is really important for our children, living on the edge of rural Lincolnshire where opportunities to work in agriculture are very real.

The time and effort taken to make sure each box is exactly what the class teacher has asked for shows a great commitment to the quality of the learning experiences Verity prides herself in providing. Each box is filled to the brim with bespoke activities to motivate and challenge the children.

The Farm in a Box is not just a box; a crucial part of the project is the live video call with a local farmer. Our local farmer, Colin is so good with the children. He answers lots of questions and tries to make sure he answers them using language that the children will understand. Language is vital for us as 78% of our children have English as an additional language. We are a language-rich school and this programme supports that with a lot of subject-specific vocabulary that supports 'new to English' children, through to the higher achievers.

We are very lucky that Gander Farm, the farm of our Country Trust Coordinator, is only 10 miles away. Over the past couple of years, we have built up a good relationship with Verity and Farmer Colin. Our Year One and Two children were invited to visit Gander Farm long before the Farm in a Box project. I like to think we helped to inspire them. We had another visit planned for June this year but unfortunately, due to Covid-19, we've been unable to visit recently. I hope that we continue to build a relationship with them in the future as we strive to enhance our curriculum offer with real-life learning opportunities.

The Farm in a Box resource is ideal for those schools where you do not readily have access to a farm. The children’s learning experiences are enhanced through an actual visit to a farm, however, the attention to detail in every Box means that the farm really comes to life within the school environment. The additional live zoom call with a farmer really inspires the children and ignites their curiosity to want to learn more.

Thank you to the Country Trust and our fantastic Coordinator, Verity, for all your support. We're already looking forward to working with you in September!

Mrs Trish Atkinson. Head Teacher, Scunthorpe Church of England Primary School

From the teacher: Farm in a Box From the teacher: Farm in a Box From the teacher: Farm in a Box