We are exceptionally fortunate to have the benefit of our own small farm and extensive grounds which contribute so greatly to the experiences which come with being at The Elms. Together with the staff, the children look after and show at surrounding agricultural shows our herd of prize-winning Hereford cattle and our Gloucester Old Spot pigs, and tend the free-range chickens. We also have ponies belonging to the school or which are liveried here, and children are welcome to bring their own. In the gardens, the children grow their own vegetables and flowers and learn how to look after them.
The farm and our grounds enhance the curriculum and lend it practical relevance. It may be measuring out feed for the pigs (Maths), sowing and studying the development of plants (Biology), harvesting salad and vegetables (Nutrition), learning the Latin names of plants (Classics), writing reports (English language), the beauty of our surroundings (English Literature) or noting the effects of weather on crops (Geography). Many of these areas are brought together in our Annual School Show.
Being outside in both rain and shine, caring for animals from pigs to horses, nurturing plants, all add a unique dimension to every child’s experience and elicit a valuable understanding of our relationship with our environment. At no time have such lessons been more important than they are today. The children experience the wonder and mystery of watching a plant from seed to fruiting, or a young animal develop from birth to maturity. The benefits are many and varied; for some the responsibility of looking after a small animal can bring self-confidence; for others a sense of the fragility of life can enhance gentleness; showing a prize animal can bring a strong sense of achievement; becoming a rider can demonstrate the value of daring to try.
Paul Smedley - Farm Manager