Posts Tagged schools

tree creatures and the permeability of clay

Withycombe Raleigh Primary came to West Town to explore soils and clay on the farm. We tracked our journey using a satellite image, waded through the stream, crossed muddy fields and ended up at Tree Henge.


There is a really good link to be made with Science and Art! Along the journey we stopped to observe first hand, in the hand and a very muddy hand it was by the end! Particles, organic matter, rock, pebble and permeability all emerged as a working vocabulary. Tea strainers allowed us to test permeability out in the field and answer the question “Why was the water staying in the Tree Henge’s moat?” Then clay became a resource for creation as we mixed different colours, added gathered materials and finally our Tree Creatures guarding the trees. I hope that, by the end, the children had a far deeper understanding of what clay is.
This is part of a developing series of stories about the resources we have on the farm. Wood, Water, Pumpkins, Pigs and more all have their story to tell of change and use through direct experience. Certainly this process is a good learning opportunity for me!

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Full Pot!

Take one very large stew pot, a collection of vegetable stories and an enthusiastic Priory Primary School, mix them all up and finish up with soup for 170, a retelling of stories and four rather beautiful banners.
This was an interesting brief from DAISI to link the SEAL theme of “Good to be me” with healthy cooking and storytelling over two days of workshops. I had a thoroughly good time. We explored how a school is made up of individuals who all have their own special qualities in the same way that a soup is made up of vegetables all with their own stories and properties.


I was impressed with the way Year 1 and 2 chopped, grated, scrubbed and peeled enough veg for the whole school, the Year 6 rap version of the story of Antoine Parmentier, the speaking and singing carrots of Year 6, the retelling of the “Old Woman and the Pumpkin” by Year 3 and 4 and foundation class’ enacting of the “Tortoise the Hare and the Squash Field. So much sharing, creativity and teamwork. Fantastic. I hope to post the lyrics of the two songs soon.
I am intrigued by the way that food and stories can be linked, cooking and telling, sustaining body and mind. I feel I need to get researching and collecting snippets of story and fact to add into the recipe. It can be tricky finding the right stories to enhance and draw out a theme without being too contrived. There is a real lot of learning to do!

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Badger Tales!

A chance conversation with a teacher about a farm visit led to this project! Set in the red earth of the old railway cutting at West Town a mix of storytelling, drama, word play and environmental explorations and artworks will lead groups into the nocturnal world of Brock the Badger. Gill. the teacher, mentioned that her 7 year olds were writing about nocturnal creatures as part of their Literacy SATs. I am wondering whether any other schools would like to explore Badger Tales. More sessions make it easier to justify a longer preparation time.Time to go calling again!

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Chickens, tunnels and seeds!

Visits to the farms are go! We discovered that FACE was able to offer free coach travel for schools to visit farms during March. Suddenly March has got rather busy.


A series of weekly visits have started with St Davids Primary in Exeter. I am taking small groups out to The Barton every Monday to explore the farm and discover how it changes over the seasons. So often visits are Summer based one offs and whilst highly enjoyable rather give the impression that the farm is always green and growing. This project aims to gives a more balanced view. We fed the chickens, explored the polytunnels, dug the earth, planted seeds, sorted potatoes, talks to the farmers and generally had a very interesting 2 hours.

Also coming up is investigating soils, discovering orchards and managing 140 Year 7s around one farm. Should be fun!

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Cycling Round Schools!

I have been off cycling round Exeter Schools making my first introductions! It has been a very interesting experience! So many different entrances, so many different layouts of grounds and so many friendly people and curious children. Here is the publicity!

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