11 June 2013
I can never resist taking a group of school children into the ancient woodland behind our site. With Spring being late this year the wild garlic and bluebells didn't appear until late May and the wild garlic is in full bloom at the moment. Yesterday we had a visit from Slyne-with-Hest Primary school from Lancaster, it is pure luxury to facilitate a school visit in the new education yurt instead of the drafty old marquee. We spent the morning meandering in and out of the polytunnels tasting different leaves, it was a joy to see so many enthusiastic children eating broccoli plucked from the plant! What an enthusiastic group they were. After lunch we ventured into the woods with bug collecting equipment and spent an hour looking for insects. Our topic this summer is mini beasts and deciding which ones we welcome on our organic farm, is it a friend or foe? It was a lovely afternoon spent under a canopy of dappled sunlight and the children loved it.
By Pauline Sprott, 11 June 2013 –
20 March 2013
Growing Well is proving popular with A level geography students as we welcomed for the third year running, over 100 students in the past couple of weeks. As part of their field studies visit to Cumbria the students visit Growing Well and Low Sizergh Farm to gain an understanding of farm diversification, which is part of the A level geography syllabus. Spending an hour with Richard Park who shares his experience of running a dairy farm and then James Smith our Growing Co-ordinator the students gain a real understanding of what farm diversification is about and how farmers have to keep considering different processes and methods to ensure the sustainability of their business. Where better to visit than us? The geography teacher who escorts the students knows just that. As a geography examiner who marks A level exam papers he is very enthusiastic about the farm and encourages students to mention Growing Well as a social enterprise when answering their exam questions - it is certain to get them extra marks!
If that wasn't enough 60 first year Geography students visited from John Moores University and next week we are expecting another group of MSc students from Aberdeen University. Growing Well and Low Sizergh Farm are certainly on the map for students to visit as a good example of farm diversification, amongst many of the other things we can offer.
By Pauline Sprott, 20 March 2013 –
20 February 2013
I have just returned with Alison from facilitating a Health & Well-being workshop at Roose School in Barrow. They have visited Growing Well many times either with a group of children or teachers enjoying one of our CPD days. (Continued Professional Development) We have also visited them and given advice on what to grow in their raised beds, and signposted them to other organisations that may be able to support them plan their school grounds such as planting trees. It is always nice to visit children at their school, it allows me to get a feeling of what is happening in the classroom and how we can enhance their learning when visiting the farm during the spring and summer months. With the Growing Well site undergoing considerable changes at the moment the education team are busy planning activities around the farm with special emphasis on keeping healthy and well. Much of what we are planning fits in nicely with the Five Ways to Wellbeing (New Economics Foundation) which was mentioned in our December newsletter so watch this space and hopefully by next month we will have all our planning done for 2013 and ready to go after the Easter holidays. If you would like to find out more about our education work please don't hesitate to contact me, many of our visitors are not just school children but community groups still wanting to learn more whatever their age!
By Pauline Sprott, 20 February 2013 –
22 January 2013
It's that time of year when I like to clear out old paperwork, it always take longer than anticipated because I like to read everything before its gobbled up by the shredder. I was reading one of the evaluation forms from our first educational visit in 2005 when Levens Primary School visited us. The enthusiasm from the teacher 8 years after their visit still remains today, she is a strong believer in children learning outside of the classroom. 2013 is going to be an exciting year, for me personally as I become a grandma for the first time (a scary thought!) but also for the education team. We are actually going to have our own yurt, no longer the drafty marquee we have shared with the slugs and snails, but somewhere I can store our resources, hang things from the walls and ceiling without them getting damp and soggy, making an outdoor learning space for everyone, children and adults.
The diary is beginning to fill up with training days, health & well-being workshops, educational visits to the farm, as well as all the planning of resources required for the start of new year, so it's not surprising I am excited at the thought of a new season, and then there is the arrival of our piglets! One just hopes we are blessed with some sunshine in 2013.
By Pauline Sprott, 22 January 2013 –
14 December 2012
"The children loved the workshops and the staff were very impressed with the whole thing. We would love to take part in anything you are doing in the future and would love to visit you at some point down at Sizergh" This was the feedback from the headteacher at Nether Kellet Primary School after we ran two Health and Well-Being workshops with a Year 3/4 and a Year 5/6 class.
Our hands-on workshop is proving popular with local schools and better still it is FREE when schools book a visit to our farm for next year. I recently read some statistics that said that some studies show as many as 1 in 10 children will experience a mental health issue between the ages of 5 and 16. Our workshop has been developed to stimulate discussion and encourage children to think about the things they need to keep them happy and well. By encouraging children to talk about their emotions and feelings in the comfort and security of their classroom can help them prepare for later life.
As we come to the end of another year I would like to thank all the team for their help and support with the educational visits and food and well-being workshops. I look forward to developing further our well-being workshops and if anyone is interested in finding out more please contact me.
By Pauline Sprott, 14 December 2012 –