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Create your own Countryside Classroom

Friday, 30 October 2015 13:24
Lauren Weller, Networks and Communications Coordinator, Farming and Countryside Education

Exactly one month ago today, Countryside Classroom came to life in eight schools across the country with a series of hands on food, farming and natural environment workshops run by volunteers from local businesses.

A huge variety of activities took place - in Tuxford Primary School pupils learned safe knife skills from a top chef and cooked a delicious fresh vegetable soup, while pupils from Ysgol Coed Y Gof made their school grounds that bit greener and safer by taking part in a litter pick. At Oathall College students from nearby schools helped out with weighing and feeding piglets while in St Barnabas’ and Gladstone Primary Schools, pupils found out all about the dairy industry by practising milking and indulging in some ice cream tasting.

At the heart of each event was the Countryside Classroom Passport, a booklet containing 18 challenges for pupils to complete that will see their knowledge, confidence and curiosity grow as they experience growing their own produce, observing and caring for wildlife and tasting their own recipes.

We’re now challenging you to create your very own Countryside Classroom using the Passport and the resources and support that can be found across the site. Follow our guide below to get started..

You’ll need:
  • A copy of the Countryside Classroom Passport for each pupil
  • A local food expert
  • A local farming expert
  • A local natural environment expert
  • The ability to take your pupils off timetable for half or a full day
  • Three spaces for activities
How to begin:
  1. Download copies of the Passport from www.countrysideclassroom.org.uk/passport. This should give you lots of ideas for activities you could do on the day.
  2. Identify your experts. Use our people to ask and places to visit pages to find organisations in your area and get in touch to ask what activities they could offer your class.
  3. Plan your day. A simple carousel arrangement works well, but you may need to be flexible according to what activities are taking place, how long they take and what resources they need.

Tip: make sure you build in time for children to wash their hands between activities, particularly if they involve food preparation!

Alternatively...

Get creative with the format and create your own Countryside Classroom in a new way:

  • Make it last even longer by running three separate events over the course of a term or a year. This will enable you to really focus on each of the three areas and connect the experience to the rest of the curriculum.
  • Reverse the concept and take your class out of school and on a visit instead. A visit to a farm can be about more than farming - you can also learn about how they take care of the environment and how their livestock or crops are made into food.
  • Keep going! If you’re worried you might not make the Passport competition deadline of February 24th 2016, don’t let it stop you! You could even offer prizes within your school to pupils who have gained the most points.

If you are creating your own Countryside Classroom and need any advice, you can contact us on info@countrysideclassroom.org.uk. Good luck!
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