Chart Wood School is fortunate to have its own farm and conservation area with pigs, chickens and rabbits including a pond and vegetable patches where the pupils grow seasonal fruit and vegetables.
The farm provides a nurturing and therapeutic environment for pupils to develop their self-confidence, motivation, and resilience. Managing the animals, gives pupils a sense of pride and responsibility and fosters positive behaviour.
Farm sessions encourage social skills such as listening, following direction, team work and turn taking. Undertaking farm maintenance tasks, alongside the animal and gardening duties, increases scientific knowledge and understanding and improves numeracy, literacy, speech and language.
Farm sessions provide a calm space to learn, attributing to improved concentration in class. No matter what season, there is always something to do on the farm. Farm sessions can be tailored to suit the individual needs of any pupil that shows an interest in attending the farm.
So, who lives on the farm?
- Rosie is our 4-year-old rescue, mini Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. Rosie is a shy, gentle girl, who welcomes a scratch behind her ears from the pupils and a handful of freshly pulled grass.
- George is our 6-year-old Gloucester Old Spot cross Kune-Kune pig. George is a happy, friendly pig that loves nothing more than a good brush from the pupils and his snout scratched.
- We have 11 rescued ex battery hens – affectionately referred to as, The Girls. There’s plenty of life left in the girls and they lay up to 8 eggs a day that the pupils collect and sort.
- We also have 6 cheeky, rabbits that enjoy hopping around the pupil’s feet as they tend to the animals and maintain the vegetables patches.
What tasks and activities would you expect to do on the farm?
- Feeding and watering the pigs, chickens and rabbits
- Collecting eggs
- Grooming, socialising and checking the animal’s wellness
- Mucking out chicken coops, rabbit hutches and pig hut
- Pruning bushes and trees in the conservation area
- Mowing grass, weeding and maintaining pathways
- Planting and growing vegetables, fruit and flowers
- Harvesting seasonal crops
- Painting, fixing and building farm and gardening equipment and signs
- Creating labels and signs for crops
- Building scarecrows and bird feeders and other farm crafts
- Older pupils teaching and mentoring younger and new pupils