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Gifted Students Take a Trip to Farm School

Which came first: the chicken or the egg?

For a lot of students who are raised in the city, that riddle might be the closest they ever come to thinking about farming or where their food comes from. But 45 fourth and fifth graders from around the city learned this year that a whole lot more goes in to getting that egg from the chicken to their table than they ever knew!

Our Talented & Gifted (TAG) team brought together their students from all around the city to go to Farm School at Camp McDowell this spring so that the kids would have a chance to dig, plant, and learn all about being on a farm. Many of the students that went with them had never been out of the city or out in nature on the scale of staying at a working farm. They learned that the farming lifestyle is a lot of hard work! They didn’t realize that people working on a farm are outside a lot, or that they have to keep working outside when it’s hot or when they see a bug!

Once they got used to the fact that Alabama can be hot outside in the spring and that not all bugs need to be squashed, the kids enjoyed all sorts of activities at Farm School. In addition to the more traditional camp activities of hiking and canoeing, they got to learn about where food comes from. They had the chance to plant and harvest vegetables and fruits, prepare a salad or dessert with their harvested foods, milk goats, and feed the chickens and pigs.

The kids even got to think about and solve a lot of problems for the farm, putting their creative minds to work in a practical way! They created a ditch to help solve a drainage problem near one of the barns, talked about soil and other environmental resources, and even worked out the logistics of creating a new area for planting in the future.

For Janell Hill, an elementary Gifted Specialist, taking the students to Farm School is about a lot more than providing another fun field trip for students. She’s been with the students at Farm School for the past two years, and she sees great value in giving the students a new way to learn there.

Janell put it this way: “Our gifted students are quick learners and curious by nature; there’s no question that they are learning the curriculum and exploring their interest within their classrooms in Decatur City Schools. Farm School allows our students to be curious in a different, practical way. Through their time at Farm School, students can catch a glimpse of what it’s like for science and math to collide or why real-world skills, such as cooking or teamwork, are important and necessary.”

There’s a lot you can learn from getting your hands dirty and putting in a day of hard work. We’re grateful for donors like Jim Allen at the Alabama Farmer’s Cooperative, who help us provide unique learning experiences for students who would otherwise not get those opportunities.