Building on your success
Forming a lasting relationship
Sustainable relationships with schools ensure that you get repeat visits and also lead to good word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Write to the teachers to thank them for visiting and asking for an evaluation. You could even include some ideas for post-visit activities by sending links from this site. This will help to keep the experience in their minds and encourage them to visit again next year.
- Send the teacher some photos of the day to show to the pupils or for display on the staffroom notice board.
- If you have a website, and have permission from the school, post some photos on your site with a short comment from you about the visit.
- Offer to go to the school a few months after the visit, or during the winter, to talk about what is happening on the farm. Refer to Making an effective presentation for some useful tips.
- Try to provide something tangible for the children to take away with them, perhaps something for a follow-up activity such as seeds to grow, or materials for craft work.
- Keep in touch with the teacher through regular, short email updates about what is happening on the farm; maybe add some photos for them to show the children. You can send the same email to all the teachers you have worked with.
- Try an 'adopt an animal' scheme. Schools could 'adopt' one of your animals for a year. They could name it and follow its progress. This works best with young animals that they can visit more than once, or friendly permanent residents. You can do something similar with particular fields and update the school on what is growing there. You might even be able to use Skype or a similar application to talk to the class while you are on the farm!
- Show schools that there is too much to see in one visit and encourage them to work their way through your programme.
- Demonstrate that you can cover a range of curriculum subjects which helps schools justify a repeat visit. For ideas, review Farm visits and the curriculum, and other farm-linked activities on this site.
- Advertise more than once a year through a mail shot – schools get a lot of promotional information so sending it once is rarely enough.
- Ask the school to produce materials such as bunting, hand prints or pictures of the farm to decorate your classroom or other covered area.
- Offer to run a competition with a chance to win small prize. Art and poetry are often appealing. The results could form part of a display in your covered area.
- Get your local Young Farmers Club involved in school liaison.
- If you have a suitable area of ground you could have a small garden where the children could plant seeds then come back to see their progress. Sunflowers are a good choice, or try potatoes.