In an effort to open more available classes up to all the families on our waitlist, we have decided to open up an afternoon FARMschool day. This group is a mixed age weekly drop-off program offered to children ages 4 and up. We will meet on Wednesdays from 1-4pm. (option to move to a morning class if and when the space allows).
The children will learn all about what it is to care about and care FOR the animals on the farm and how it all ties into the changing seasons. Children get to help feed the animals, gather eggs, milk the goats (when we have goats in milk), and get a little glimpse of what it's like to be a farmer for a day!
AUTUMN will consist of planning for the year ahead, harvesting the late summer garden, planting a winter garden, preparing for baby goats to be born, collecting the eggs and having fun!
WINTER is our in breath; We have some pregnant mamas who will be having babies (sometimes they have them during class, sometimes I invite kids to stay after class if a mama is close to delivering-what an experience!), the egg laying slows down, the garden is producing and the children enjoy walking thru and harvesting what is ready (often taking some home to share with their families or eating it right then and there in the garden!). We spend this time thinking about and preparing for spring and enjoying the beautiful Florida "winter." We may work on new building projects, repairs, or just hanging out with the animals, or making garden soup over a camp fire.
SPRING time gets busy!! Seeds need to be planted for the new garden, egg production starts to pick up and the babies are just so much darn fun to romp around with or snuggle up with. So many impromptu things will happen... if the lemons are ripe, we may make lemonade, if the loquats are ripe we may make loquat jam, if we have a lot of basil we may make pesto! Learning to make cheese, yogurt, goats milk soap... the list of possibilities goes on and on! Did I forget Goat Yoga?? Ya... that's a favorite around here.
The older children will of course be going more in depth with some of the things we learn about. Possible things your child may learn about on the farm:
~botany and gardening
~reproduction (according to what they observe)
~the egg cycle of a chicken
~how to maintain the health of the herd
~record keeping and charting (egg and milk production)
~possibly some business experience (as those in 6 grade and up could potentially run a small farm stand or similar business venture).
We also do seasonal crafts and projects scattered throughout the year. Examples of some past crafts are: Beeswax candle dipping or rolling, lantern making, seed necklaces, paw/hoof/claw print ornaments, feather paintbrushes and milk paint, painted flower pots or garden markers, herbal tea blends, salves.
A lot of what we might discuss and do isn't planned and just naturally comes about throughout our day, depending on the time of year and what we have going on. The above list is only part of what your child may learn thru hands-on farm immersion!! We take a lot of the children's suggestions and interests into account too as we're planning our activities.
The children will also have a lot of free time to explore, play and connect with each other and the animals. One of my favorite things is to watch the games they create and come up with all by themselves!