At our last meeting on May 21st, the Board was delighted by the outpouring of appreciation from the kindergarten classes of Strathern Elementary. Months earlier, the teachers from those classes came to the Neighborhood Council and asked for support for a field trip. With school budgets tight, they wanted to take their young charges on a field trip to Underwood Farms. At our March meeting, the Council approved a grant of $1,500 to help pay for the field trip costs. Along with funding support from others, 135 kindergartners from six classes joined 18 parent volunteers on May 8 for a trip to the farm.
How we get our foods, both fruit and vegetables, and meats, and milk had been the project of the Kindergarten school year and at the conclusion of the year the field trip to a working farm was a real highlight for excitement. Squeals of delight, and oohs and a-ays, followed every turn. Pointing fingers, and touching the soil, pulling the plants for their individual food bags, and seeing the wide variety of animals on the farm all brought happy bounces from one delight to the next.
A week before the trip the sow had given birth to seven little pink piglets. They were the love of every child. Each little pig had a name after the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The most unusual vegetable was not the orange carrots, but the purple carrots! (Yes, Google Purple Carrots. You will find it is true. There are purple carrots, and you can learn more about the history of purple carrots on your computer.) When the children arrived at the farm they were welcomed by Farmer Alex who gave the children wagon rides pulled by the great big tractor. They covered acres of the farm where the children could see row after row of vegetables. At wagon stops, Farmer Alex, explained how the seeds were planted, weeded, watered, and then harvested. Every child was given a standard grocery bag. Each child got to get off the wagon and harvest as many of the lettuces, carrots, beets, and other veggies, as their bags could hold. Those grocery bags of produce were taken to their mothers to cook for dinner. The children saw the chickens, the roosters, and the baby chickens. They saw turkeys rabbits, pigs, horses, cows. They also saw some exotic animals, such as an emu, ostrich, and llama. But those cute little pink piglets seemed to take the cake with the children’s delight.
The next school day the good teachers knew the value of review and recollection. They had the children talking about their trip, then writing a narration of what they saw. There were pictures drawn about their sights and ventures. And, yes, the purple carrots, and pink piglets were in the pictures. Also, there were pictures of the wagons that were pulled by tractors. And there was the fun of climbing on the big stacks of hay, and the fun of going down on the big slide. Through it all, and in their pictures, the day was filled with bright sunshine.
The bottom line with the children’s recollections in word and picture, was all a great pleasure. These children can grow up to be the leaders of tomorrow. Every encouragement that we can give to them can help to develop the good citizens of our future. It pays to nurture and treat all children very well. They are not just children: they are our future.
Some of the pictures that the kids drew of this field trip were given to the Board at our May meeting. Much thanks is due to our Board Members Sarah Ramsawack and Inez Morin for selecting the pictures that accompany this article. And extra credit goes to Sarah for submitting the majority of the description of the trip above.
And not least, much appreciation and respect is due to the hard-working teachers at Strathern Elementary who went the extra mile so their kids could have this experience.