Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share our experience with others. We have been to Farmer Nichole’s farm three times. Visiting the farm at different times of the year has given our students a sense of how the seasons change and how these changes effect the farm. Farmer Nichole is very welcoming and allows the students to develop an understanding of where their food comes from in a very holistic way. She has developed hands on experiences that give the students the opportunity to think critically about what they hear, see, smell and touch at the farm. A trip at the farm is never the same. There are always changes happening and new thinking to take place.
My Kindergarten students leave Nichole’s farm knowing that their food comes from a farm long before it sits on the grocery store shelves. They hold the grain that becomes their cereal. They smell the durum that becomes their noodles. They feed the cow that provides their milk. They pet the hen and gather eggs from her nest. This learning is SO very important and cannot be effectively taught within the walls of a classroom. Farmer Nichole provides REAL learning experiences and we are so grateful!
My name is Danielle Beach and I am a grade 1 teacher at Webster Niblock School in Medicine Hat Alberta. I have been teaching in Medicine Hat for the past 25 years. The first half of my career I spent in High School and this last half I have been teaching first grade! Needless to say I have taken my students… both young and old on countless field trips over the years.
In May and October of 2013 I had the absolute pleasure of taking my Grade One class out to Neubauer Farms for the “Spring Fun on the Farm” and “Pumpkin Patch” experience! From the moment we arrived on both occasions the children were engaged and excited to be there. Nichole was absolutely fabulous with the children and had their attention from start to finish. In the Fall I focus on the changing seasons and we do a science unit on pumpkins. Our fall visit to the Pumpkin Patch is a wonderful ending to culminate what happens to plants and animals in the fall. The children are also able to get hands on experience with how pumpkins grow and what they are like from the inside out!! They were absolutely thrilled to be able to hand pick their very home pumpkin to bring home! Fantastic!
In the spring I teach a “Spring on the Farm” theme in which their science, math, art and language learning programs are based on. It was my hope that the children would be able to see and touch live farm animals and witness how a farm operates. During our visit Nichole was able to touch on all of those areas and then some. The children were so excited to sit on a VERY large tractor, pet goats, geese etc., feed a baby calf with a bottle, plant a wheat, flax or durum seed and grind wheat and make dough…and on and on. We spent the entire afternoon on the farm and the children absolutely loved every minute of it! It was truly the most engaging and worthwhile field trip I have ever taken my students on.
I can’t wait to take my children there again this spring!!
My only concern with attending this field trip is that it is a costly venture and may not always get to attend as the funding may not be available. I know that this is also the case for other schools.
Please know that I approached Nichole and asked what I could do to help out in her efforts to obtain some funding to continue her “Growing Minds” program because I believe it is that worthwhile and every child should have the opportunity to experience this.
Ms. Danielle Beach
I had the pleasure of accompanying my Preschool class to Nichole Neubauerʼs Farm last week. Without a doubt, the “Neubauer Farm” trip was the best field trip of the entire school year. This program has too many benefits to list, but I will attempt to highlight the best ones.
Firstly, the farm is very close to town and extremely easy to find, both bonuses when trying to navigate dirt roads on a school bus. From the moment we arrived on the property we were greeted by Nicholeʼs friendly smile. She had our adventure planned out to the last detail (she even included “body breaks” and a snack to hold the attention of the children). All of the materials that were needed were laid out and ready to go… Nichole was truly prepared and excited for our arrival.
Nichole made the children ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS in the farm experience, not just observers. She let them play the role of “farmer,” which has much more value than simply listening. They were involved in “chores” such as making a special “lilac salad” for the goats and taking oats to the horses. The children loved interacting with the goats, and even got a chance to brush them… an experience that many would never have experienced otherwise.
Following the animal chores, the children were led through a story and a series of activities. They listened to the story of “The Little Red Hen,” and again, experienced it in an interactive way. They each got to hold some wheat in their hands. She allowed the children to see what the wheat looks like in the field, and also gave them a chance to hold the stuffed animals that were characters in the story. Following this interactive story, the children actually got to go through the processes they learned about in the story. They planted wheat, weeded the garden, turned wheat into flour, made buns and were able to eat some bread. They learned that a lot of work goes into getting food onto our tables. Nichole believes that children have lost sight of where their food comes from… and that it is vital that they see farming as an integral part of their everyday lives.
The children had an opportunity to review what they learned about feeding the animals through a hands-on matching activity and a make-and-take wheat plant. Following the activities, the children were given a tour of the garden. She explained to the children that ALL of her familyʼs fruits and vegetables come from her garden throughout the summer. Nichole pointed out the pumpkin plants that will be ready for harvest in the fall.
As I have outlined, the farm field trip was so much more than a tour…. it was a true EXPERIENCE. The children gained an understanding and appreciation for the vital part that agriculture plays in their daily lives. It is my hope that the “Neubauer Farm”
experience will be made available to MANY children in our community, and that it can become more of a year-round experience for the children. I will be requesting 2 trips with my class next school year; one in the fall and again in the spring. I hope that Nichole can also come into our classroom during the winter and share more about farm life with the children. As one child said, “that farmer, she knows EVERYTHING.” They were awestruck and hungry for more knowledge.
I highly recommend the “Neubauer Farm” experience for all children to take part in. Itʼs value reaches further than we will ever know. Nichole is planting seeds of knowledge, curiosity and wonder through her farm tours.
Thank you for inviting us into your environment Nichole. It was fantastic.
March 5, 2014
George Davison Testimonial for Growing Minds Program offered by Nichole Neubauer Students from our George Davison grade one/two cycle had the wonderful opportunity to visit Neubauer Farms in October of 2013. There were close to 160 students, several teachers and many parent volunteers who were able to attend this worthwhile field trip. The response and feedback we received from students and parents was excellent.
The students were so excited when our bus arrived at the beautiful, well-maintained and highly organized farm. Many of our students had never been to a farm so this was truly a unique opportunity for them. Upon arrival the students were welcomed by Farmer Nichole and then the learning and fun began. We were divided into groups and shown to our first center. Throughout the tour we travelled to several interesting, interactive and educational activities. Each activity not only taught the students about the importance of agriculture it also included many learning outcomes which directly correlated with our curriculum. The students were encouraged to explore, discover, question and play together. This experience provided opportunities to explore several numeracy and literacy objectives as well as Social Studies, Science, Health and Physical Education outcomes. Many of the activities gave the students a sense of how things relate back to their own lives and this made each experience meaningful to them. Authentic experience develops an understanding of what happens on a farm and relates it directly back to our lives. This field trip was a positive experience which left a lasting impression on our students as they still talk about it to this day. Teachers are still referring to the hands on experiences from this trip to review and teach outcomes in the classroom.
Grade One/Two Teachers
George Davison School