A new collaboration between Social Farms & Gardens and LEAF Education aims to make care farming more accessible for teachers and education referrers.
Care farming now has a permanent presence on the Countryside Classroom website, developed by LEAF Education and partner organisations. The website is a free database of teaching resources, people to ask, and places to visit designed to enable teachers to use food, farming and the natural environment in and out of the classroom. With hundreds of contributors, Countryside Classroom is an important place for teachers to find free high-quality educational support.
The new care farming pages feature an overview of why care farming works so well for young people, a video, a searchable map and case studies. Teachers and education referrers can now learn more about care farming and search for care farms in their local area.
Dr Rachel Bragg OBE, Care Farming Development Manager at Social Farms & Gardens, said: “We hope that the Countryside Classroom resources will help education professionals understand the hugely positive impact that care farming and green care services can have on young people and their education. We want to make it easier for students who might be struggling with mainstream education to be referred to local care farms and benefit from their life-changing services.”
Carl Edwards, Director, Education and Public Engagement at LEAF adds: “We are incredibly pleased to see the addition of care farming on the Countryside Classroom website – care farms have so much to offer schools and we hope that bringing the awareness to mainstream schools can only benefit young people. As part of this work we reached out to SENCOs across England who were all amazed at what care farmers could offer their pupils and were keen to access the many benefits they had to offer.”
Care farming is one of a range of nature-based interventions available in the UK that can boost prospects and change lives. Through a supervised, structured programme of farming activity, young people can improve health and wellbeing or gain qualifications and skills.
Over half of UK care farms work with young people with Autism Spectrum Disorders and learning difficulties or as part of Alternative Provision, with 40% working with under 18s with learning disabilities, mental ill health or physical disabilities. Referrals to care farms can be part of SEND, part of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or as Alternative Education Provision. Care farms also help young people with mental health and wellbeing or rehabilitation.
Registration for care farms is ongoing, so if you’re a care farmer working with young people please register your farm or green care site on the website now and let us know what you think.
The Countryside Classroom care farming pages represent a collaboration between Countryside Classroom partners and Growing Care Farming. Growing Care Farming (GCF) aims to increase access to health, care and educational services on care farms. GCF is delivered by Social Farms & Gardens in partnership with Thrive and is part of the government funded Children and Nature Programme. Please visit www.farmgarden.org.uk/gcf for more information.
To find out more information about LEAF Education, please visit leafuk.org/education/leaf-education