Kids Explore the Natural World in Little Farmers Class
Little Farmers is a program we started in 2015. The program, which runs weekly for one hour on Tuesday mornings and requires no prior commitment, is one of Eric’s favorites. It allows kids to explore nature and the seasons with their parents or caregivers.
Hands-on exploration helps nurture their appreciation for the natural world – the Earth, and all of the living and nonliving things that are part of our community. It gives kids a basic understanding of ecology and how relationships in nature work. Here on the farm, those relationships exist all over.
Over the course of the season, kids will get to explore all over the farm over the course of the season. They’ll head out into the fields, the greenhouses, or the production hoop houses across the street, and will even hop in a wagon to see the Willing Hands Garden or our larger production fields down the street.
You’ll probably find the first group of the season in the greenhouses, looking for different colors, insects, and other kinds of life.
Eric takes whatever is happening on the farm that week and turns it into a lesson he can share with the kids. The class starts with exploring a subject and allowing kids to make observations. After that, the parents (or caregivers) and their children will do a more structured activity to focus on the theme of the class. Eric makes it a point to do activities that kids would only be able to experience on a small, organic farm, and usually stays away from craft projects unless they’re applicable. And if the focus of the lesson is produce, they’ll end the class with a harvest and tasting.
“I don’t think there’s any better way to tempt a child to try a vegetable than having just explored it for an hour, worked with it, harvested especially,” Eric says.
Like all of our programs, Little Farmers fosters inquiry and promotes investigation. Eric presents information in an unbiased way, and he uses the Socratic method to help kids make observations about the world around them. Around 2 to 5 years old, kids are naturally investigating the world, and that’s exactly what we want to help them do here at the farm.
Based on an interview with Eric Tadlock on April 11, 2018.
– Photo by Ben Fleishman