We welcomed ITV cameras to the Prep School this morning, following a request to broadcast live from our School Farm for a segment on topical daytime show, This Morning.

In an interview, with presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, our Headmaster, Stephen McKernan, talked about the ways in which our School Farm educates children about respect and care for animals.

At St Edward’s, outdoor learning is a key element of our curriculum. From Kindergarten through to Year 6 there are an array of exciting initiatives in place to ensure that all our pupils can make connections with the natural world. They each have opportunities to participate in a range of activities which enable them to take on appropriate risks and challenges, whilst building strong, positive relationships with the natural environment.

Our onsite School Farm is an invaluable resource in the general life of the school, providing the opportunity for our pupils to gain practical skills and a knowledge of animal care. There are numerous ways in which the Farm integrates with the academic life of the School, taking subjects like Science and Geography out of the classroom, and allowing us to offer a rounded cross-curricular educational experience.

The alpacas, goats and chickens residing on our Farm receive the utmost level of care, as it is extremely important to us that all the animals are treated equally, and are happy and healthy. Farm Club runs every lunchtime and, over the course of the academic year, each Year group has an opportunity to get involved. Members of the Club take responsibility for a variety of tasks including cleaning out the enclosures, replenishing water and hay, and giving the animals food.

Most importantly, through their involvement with the School Farm, our pupils develop a greater understanding of their environmental responsibility and respect for all living things. It also provides opportunities to focus on a wide range of environmental issues.

The School Farm is not our only outdoor learning resource. Through our Forest School Programme in Kindergarten and Pre-Prep lessons are taken outdoors, giving pupils the chance to hunt for mini-beasts, grow produce, look for birds and wildlife, and create their own dens and shelters. Forest School is a special place for the children, where they are encouraged to test boundaries and explore. For the older children, learning to cook over an open fire, peeling vegetables and having a go at woodwork, all adds to their skills and growing sense of independence.

We are always looking for new ways to strengthen our connections with the natural world. Most recently we welcomed our very own colony of bees to the Prep School with a hive tucked away in a quiet corner of the site. They have started producing honey and will be a fantastic additional curriculum resource in helping us to teach our pupils about the important role that bees play in our eco-system.

Headmaster, Mr Stephen McKernan, comments “I am a passionate believer in the power of transformational education. As educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that we offer constructive and meaningful learning opportunities that go beyond simple knowledge acquisition. In today’s society it is imperative that our children have respect for animals and an understanding of the world around them. Facilities like our School Farm and Forest School enable us to bring issues like sustainability to the fore, whilst also helping to boost confidence, independence and emotional well-being. It is my hope that all children who benefit from a St Edward’s education leave us with a well-developed understanding of their natural environment and empathy for those around them.”

You can watch the interview via the following link – http://bit.ly/St_Eds_on_this_morning