Education in the Countryside
As a working farm, Rectory Farm can make use of its resources and facilities in many different ways that link to the curriculum. Indeed, pre-visits by teachers and voluntary group leaders are an important means of tailoring the provision for an individual group’s needs. Examples of activities carried out during school visits include:
River studies - investigating changes in characteristics of the river such as speed, shape and load (geography).
Life cycles - learning about different freshwater plants and animals through pond dipping (science)
Farming history - comparing old handle-turned sheep shearing machines with the more modern technology used today (history)
Farm machinery - learning about how various pieces of farm equipment are operated and maintained (design and technology)
Lambing - observing the lambing pens and learning about how lambs are born and looked after (various subjects)
Trailer ride - looking at various features of the farm such as the suckler cows, river meanders and ewes and lambs (various subjects).
Besides curriculum links, the key aims behind the farm’s educational work is ‘to try to get children to look at where their food comes from’. Coupled with this is a desire to make visitors aware that farming is a business.
We hope this pack will give you an idea of our farm and its activities. Please come and have a look round before organising a school visit. By riding on the farm quad and trailer it is easy to see the whole farm quite quickly. Wellington boots are essential, as is a warm jacket of some sort. In the spring and autumn, young children particularly need warm clothing. With a little planning, some activities like sheep shearing, and crayﬁsh catching can be organised. During the winter when cattle and sheep are housed, children need to be quiet when ﬁrst approaching animals as they can get a shock from sudden noises.
Health & safety
1. Perhaps most important is general hygiene particularly with younger children at lambing time. Hot water and
soap is available in the farm buildings and farm house. Staggered use can avoid long, queues.
2. Pregnant women should avoid visiting the farm at lambing time.
3. The river has steep banks by the bottom meadows particularly. The ponds are good for pond dipping but the
depth of water changes through the seasons.
4. Electric fences will be switched off but children need to be aware.
5. Ewes can be protective to newly born lambs and care should be taken around all livestock.
General field studies
Children should use their eyes and observe the physical features and the wildlife. They could also record, draw or photograph things of particular interest in their natural state, which will add interest. With small groups the chance to badger watch in the summer may be possible. Close observation of plant leaves, ﬂowers, butterﬂies or listening to bird and animal calls are valuable experiences which may precipitate a desire to know more.
Mr George Eaton, Rectory Farm, Tingewick.
Website by Andy Hack. All photography (except where credited) by Sara & Andy Hack Copyright 2010