News. Food, farming and horticulture spring workshops

19th of December, 2018

Each year Dumfries House offers a range of exciting workshops aimed at primary and secondary school children, centered around an array of topics, from engineering through to ports and fitness. We speak to food, farming, and horticulture tutor Arianne Knowles about the spring education workshops for schoolchildren.

“Our programmes offer children the opportunity to not only appreciate where their food comes from and the effort required to produce it, but also the chance to get hands-on and really connect with the processes involved,” explains Arianne.

Children love to learn experientially, and what better way is there than to get your hands dirty harvesting your own vegetables and cooking your own food or to hold a day old chick and feel the softness of its feathers and its heart beating in your hand. Having that exciting moment sparks their imagination and leaves them excited to find out more.”

At the Pierburg Building and Kauffman Education Garden children can gain skills in planting, growing, harvesting and growing vegetables and looking after the soil they are grown in. They will learn how to safely use gardening tools such as forks and spades, and also how to prepare, cook and bake in our cooking classroom. They may learn how to prepare vegetables safely by developing knife skills, or even something as simple as cracking an egg into their recipe mix without dropping in bits of shell.”

At Valentin's Education Farm children learn about where their food comes from, the animals that produce it and the work carried out by those who look after them. Spring is a fantastic time to visit the farm, with new life all around. Children can meet the animals and their new off-spring up close, giving them a chance to connect with the beginning point of the farming story. Children are always fascinated by the journey of a freshly laid chicken egg to the emergence of a hatched out chick three weeks later or figuring out how a ewe and her young lamb recognise each other in amongst the flock.”

At both venues we are now offering our senses programmes, utilising the farm and gardens to help younger children learn about their senses and how the senses help them understand the world around them. There is always plenty to see, smell, touch, taste and hear in the garden and on the farm providing a brilliant backdrop that engages them in their learning on such a key topic. Working with older children on the farm the concepts of sentience and welfare are also explored; the children gain an understanding of what the different animals use their senses for, and therefore, what the animals can feel and how we can meet their needs.”

One of the biggest challenges faced by humankind is how we can sustainably feed our ever-increasing population; connecting children back to the processes involved in producing that food is an important first step to help us face that challenge.”

Dumfries House also offers outdoor and residential and STEM workshops. Visit the ‘what’s on’ section to find out more.