Useful tips and advice on the practicalities of preparing for a farm visit.
How can you prepare for a class visit to a farm or horticulture unit?
The following information is intended as a checklist for teachers planning their first class
visit to a farm.
Initial contact with the farm/horticulture unit
- Check opening times and the costs for a school visit.
- Request any relevant printed material about the farm/horticulture unit as this will help you decide whether this farm/horticulture unit is suitable for your visit.
- Ask for a statement on the farm/horticulture unit's liability insurance - your LEA most probably already insists upon this.
When you have gathered this information and think you may have found a suitable farm/horticulture unit:
Visit the farm/horticulture unit yourself first
- Check exactly what the farm/horticulture unit has to offer you as teaching/ learning resources and what arrangements can be made for special activities which are relevant to any lessons you have planned (e.g. some practical mathematics which can be covered by measuring, approximating, drawing or counting activities, etc).
- Reassure yourself that the farm/horticulture unit meets the safety, pleasure and comfort
needs of you and your pupils.
- Obtain answers to all the other questions you may have e.g.
- Are wet-weather facilities available?
- Are guided visits available?
- How long does a tour of the farm take?
- What hand-washing and toilet facilities are there?
- What breaks will there be?
- When is lunch time and how long will it be?
- Where can lunch be eaten?
- Is there anywhere bags and packed lunches can be stored?
- Is there a free-activity area available?
- Is there a teashop or gift shop?
- Is there hard standing for a coach and facilities for the coach driver?
The list is not intended to be exhaustive - all teachers will have their own questions and the
farmer/grower will be more than willing to answer these questions.
Before the visit takes place
- With your curriculum and lesson planning completed, and all the introductory work undertaken with the children in class, there are still things that you will need to consider:-
- Booking transport: some farms will arrange this for you, but do remember to meet any LEA safety requirements.
- Mode of transport: are your children accustomed to this form of travel, indeed are they used to travelling at all? Consider what travel-sickness precautions need to be taken (anti-sickness pills, eating a breakfast before the journey, taking sickness bags with you etc).
- Activities for the journey: some teachers find it helpful if they have prepared some interesting activities which the children can undertake during long journeys (I-Spy, etc).
- Packed lunches: you may wish to take packed lunches with you from the schools-meals service. This eliminates the problem of providing for those who normally have free school meals as well as providing food which meet the religious and dietary needs of the children.
- Wet-weather clothing: make sure the children have appropriate wet-weather gear, often the LEA outdoor-pursuits centre will loan these at very low cost.
- Footwear: if children do not possess wellington boots and you know they will be walking through mud, recommend they bring along a pair of really old shoes to wear on the farm. Recruit and inform the adults who will be accompanying you on the visit so that they know exactly what is expected of them.
- Resources: acquire and pack all the necessary resources you may need : tape - recorder, camera, clipboards, writing implements etc and of course make sure you have a fully equipped first-aid kit.