Farm-based educational program
“We need to be interactive with the natural environment around us to find wholeness within ourselves.”
~ Bente Goldstein
The FarmWise™ Education program is based on methods developed by Bente Goldstein and her friends and colleagues during her many years as a teacher and farm-educator. In the FarmWise program these methods are realized in a farm-based educational experience developed for children, primarily six to twelve years of age. They are nestled on this organic farm in Wisconsin, USA.
Year ’round programs
Through a year-round schedule of school group visits, weekend family programs and – during the summer – 5-day or 3-day summer camps, small groups of children are introduced to the values, lifestyle and work ethic of the traditional midwest American farm. It’s like Old McDonald’s place!
Livestock and farm pets are tended daily: Kua and Daisy, the dairy cows, are milked. Eggs are gathered and the pigs fed. Come haying time, the bales of fresh hay are stowed in the hayloft. Fruit trees must be pruned and the garden cultivated. There’s endless tasks on a farm, of course. And the children learn by doing everything themselves. This is actually what is unique about the FarmWise programs. The children do not just look at farming happening. This is an interactive place. Those who have worked with children know that it is much more fun to try to wrestle a hay bale yourself, rather than watch the grownups do it!
Inside the house, snacks and meals are prepared by the children, when possible including fruits (literally, sometimes!) of the day’s work. As in all things, the emphasis is on doing the work themselves, “with our own hands”, and enjoying the harvest of our efforts. It’s about seeing the consequences of our honest work, being it planting seeds in the ground or feeding the pigs.
Always there is Music
When the children are here for more than one day, we learn many songs from around the world. And how these songs both tell stories and lift the spirit. Didn’t people always sing to lift themselves from the heaviness of hard work in the old days? Believing , like Pete Seeger, that we need to bring singing back into daily life in America, there is singing at many transitional times at FarmWise.
A happy, fruitful experience
Why should’t we try to give the children a sense of the fact that they, too, could do “homesteading” one day, if they wanted to? We give them a try at it here, and they love it! The values and habits the children build in themselves are lifelong. In short: this is the “I Can” experience! You will find it to be a happy, fruitful experience for all who engage in it.