Farm School

Farm School

Farm School is designed for children aged 1-6.

It is held every Thursday morning during term 3, from 10am-1pm. Enrolments are now closed for term 3! With the warmer weather coming, Wednesday morning sessions will be open too.

Term 3: Monday 15th July – Thursday 19th September (10 weeks)

Farm School offers creative education through the lens of the environment, using experiential, democratic, and self-directed learning.

Read more below about the awesome democratic, ecological and creative activities on offer!

Farm School is led by a facilitator and is a parent-stay program.

Enrolling

Enrolments are closed as the program is full.

Thursdays enrolment

Term Dates

Term 3: Monday 15th July – Thursday 19th September

Term 4: Monday 7th October – Friday 13th December

Our Goals

We are aiming for the children to be (in no particular order):

  • building their instincts in the natural environment
  • sensing and acting upon their intuition
  • generating and pursuing ideas in insistent ways
  • incorporating others into their ideas
  • adding value to their environment and to each other
  • engaging with projects
  • developing their creative capabilities
  • broadening their range of technical skills
  • relating with the farm animals in ways that communicate care
  • developing physical capacities including strength and dexterity, and
  • beginning to perform or present their work to us, their community.
Community at School of Creative Education
Animals at School of Creative Education

Ages

Farm School is designed for children aged 1 – 6.

Being a parent-stay program, many parents have two or more children who are not yet in school.

Children not yet walking join in with their siblings and families, but do not pay the term’s fee until they are up and about.

Experiences

Every week, our sessions are filled with a variety of individual and collective activities that bring our children’s social and ecological awareness to life. Our program is an indoor-outdoor program. The children are free to play in both environments with all toys and art materials.

Farm School has its own indoor classroom which includes a gathering area, art space, library, dress-up centre, construction zone, a child-proofed kitchen, a disability bathroom and toddler and adult toilets.

Farm School has full access to the whole property including the dam (child-fenced), paddocks, fire pits, conservation area, playground, orchard, sandpit, sports court, the animals, and our community room. Much of our time is spent outside.

Our individual and collaborative projects have a focus upon the arts and environment.

Our projects often include:

  • nature-art including drawing, painting and craft
  • design and creation of outdoor spaces, and
  • story and forms of literature

Our activities include:

  • singing songs
  • exploring the paddocks, bush, orchard and dam
  • dressing up
  • feeding the chooks and duck, and collecting eggs
  • preparing communal lunch
  • camping activities
  • arts and construction activities
  • caring for farm animals including our large family of guineas, and from the beginning of term 3, our miniature foal in need of love, and two young and child-responsive goats
  • bush survival activities
  • juicing fruits and veggies
  • exploring educational toys
  • constructing with adult tools
  • reading stories
  • cooking in the open fire, and
  • pursuing our individual and collective ideas and projects.

Our structure usually follows this sequence:

Time Activity
10am arrive and reconnect
10.15am hello song, democratic meeting… suggest and vote on ideas for the session, discuss problems
10.35am activities based upon their ideas which may include small creative projects, animal therapy, farm chores, nature walks, their collective project, arts… see the list above
12pm prepare lunch
12.20pm share lunch inside or outside
12.45pm democratic meeting… plans for the next week including lunch and goodbye song.

Participant numbers

The early years program provides a place for up to eighteen children, of approximately thirteen families.

Parent stay

Farm School is a parent-stay program.

Parents stay to add value to the creative process by offering resources such as ideas, community connections, food preparation and activity help, etc.

At least one parent will be present per family with an experienced facilitator leading the sessions. Extended family and friends are welcome to come and play.

Fees

The fees per session for 2019 are:

$22 for eldest child in the family, $17 for second and $12 for third and fourth children if they are walking. Children not yet walking are free to attend with their older siblings.

Refunds

Refunds for a term’s fees are no longer able to be offered unless a family travels away on holiday or for work.

Our Why

We are concerned that research shows:

  • childrens’ creative abilities substantially reduce during their school years
  • a social, economic and environmental demand for creativity, and
  • increasing current and emerging social and ecological issues for which solutions are not yet found.

SoCE aims to ensure our children have the best possible chance to:

  • grow into adults adept to working together
  • be part of the solution to social and ecological and social issues, and
  • are able to co-create their chosen culture, long after we are gone.

We do this by providing education through:

  • the creative process rather than the academic
  • the democratic process rather than the authoritarian
  • the natural world rather than the manufactured.

What to bring

We spend most of our time outside, so…

  • gumboots all year round
  • two complete changes of clothes for children and adults
  • sun hats during terms 1 and 4, and beanies during terms 2 and 3
  • warm, wind and waterproof jackets and pants  during terms 2 and 3
  • ingredients for lunch which the group decide upon the previous week, and
  • medications if needed.

All bags including changes of clothes can be stored on the bag hooks inside the front entrance of the building.

We ask all parents carry their operable mobile phones. We do this so we can be sure we can contact each other on the rare occasion we are separated and so we each have access to emergency services if needed.

Where we are

Our campus is at 6 Rainy Hill Road, Cockatoo. Farm School occupies the old building, shared with the offices, community room and library.