Countryside Classroom - Connecting schools with food, farming and the natural environment

Growing Schools has been re-launched as Countryside Classroom, the largest ever partnership of organisations who are committed to helping children learn about food, farming and/or the natural environment.

It is the vision of Countryside Classroom that schools and teachers across the UK will embrace food, farming and the natural environment as essential components of a broad and balanced curriculum, incorporating them into day-to-day learning. As a result of this, every child will have the opportunity to learn about and experience these topics in diverse ways that are increasingly supported by experiences outside the classroom.

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The Chicken Project

From: Beechwood Primary School

The chickens have slowed us down, they make us stop and stare. Staff report that the children are quieter and calmer around the chickens and the whole school benefits because the aviary is right in the centre of the school. Children across the Federation now visit the chickens for various projects.

Learning Objectives

We were looking for ideas to motivate the children to write, through cross curricular contexts and to inspire the teachers to revisit the planning and incorporate child centred, compelling learning experiences. We were also hoping to engage the parents through homework and in school activities.

Resources

A keen teacher to lead the project and fundraising with the classes (we raised £600 for the eglu chicken house). Lots and lots of enthusiasm!

Pupil Learning Outcomes

Increased empathy and awareness of other living creatures. Awe and wonder of nature as the chickens hatch from eggs. Imagine the children writing from the perspective of the chick hatching form the egg...incredible! Confidence building, you can email a company to ask for fundraising money or telephone the manger of the local Coop to fund our coop! And many, many more!

What lessons have teachers / the school learned from the project / activity?

Ofsted like Learning in the natural environment! Our recent Ofsted report for which we received a 'good' included this statement: 'Pupils are keen to undertake responsibilities such as looking after the school chickens.' Staff discovered that children engage better with their learning when they are immersed in and have a personal connection with the theme. Money is no object, fund raising large sums of money is possible. With enough enthusiasm you can acheive anything!

3 Key Messages

This quote from www.lotc.org.uk sums it up for me: ‘For many young people, it is not sufficient to acquire knowledge without seeing its relevance to themselves and the world around them. So, they learn better though practical experience and acquire their knowledge and understanding through real-life tasks that stimulate their natural curiosity.’

Contact Details

Lisa Evans (nee Reburn) Beechwood Primary School Southernway federation Plymouth 01752 706360


This Case Study was submitted as part of the Natural Connections Demonstration Project

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