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Experiencing the Whole Farm

In our closing circle, the twenty-five third graders shared highlights from the three days they spent at the farm.  I was impressed and a bit awed by the diversity of answers from our intrepid group of young campers.


“Milking goats.”
“Walking in the creek”
“Carting hay to the compost”
“Whacking weeds”
“Helping stir and spray the Biodynamic compost”
“Planting in the garden”
“Being able to look up the hill and see the tree and the skyline and the clouds.”
“Going up in the hayloft”
“Hearing the roosters in the morning.”
“How easy it was to make cheese.”
“How different the soil was on this farm from the neighbor’s farm.” 


This group was one of four of local Waldorf schools which brought their third grade classes to the farm for overnight camping trips this spring.  Waldorf education was founded by Rudolf Steiner, whose insights led to the development of Biodynamic agriculture.  Steiner observed that 9 year olds go through a developmental transition towards more independence.  Learning about farming (as well as shelter and clothing) helps the newly independent youngsters develop essential skills and confidence in their ability to provide for themselves. 


Hearing their responses as a whole, the children have touched on every element of their experience of the farm.  In just a few short days, they’ve participated in so many aspects of agriculture, through work, harvest, sharing and exploring.  They understand that their efforts contribute to the care of the farm as a whole. 


I know we’ve done our job well when we hear a nine-year old share in the closing circle, “What I liked is that everything on the farm has a place, even the tiniest worm.”