Young students applied all of their senses – sight, sound, smell, touch and taste – this week to experiential lessons at Live Earth Farm in Watsonville. Mount Madonna School preschool and fourth grade students enthusiastically engaged with resident livestock and friendly farmers as they explored fields, pens, corrals and gardens during a busy morning of planting seeds, harvesting produce and tending to farm animals.
“Our students had a hands-on experience of life on an organic farm,” commented preschool teacher Danielle Barr. “The farmers were knowledgeable, patient and inspiring. Students learned about harvesting and growing black beans, caring for goats, chickens, ponies, pigs and a sweet cow named Molly. Students were able to put their hands in the dirt and discover the magic that happens with nurturing a seed all the way to harvest. We tasted two kinds of apples, and grapes off the vines and they were delicious!”
This academically vibrant farm tour involved learning about the life cycle of plants by up-close examinations of flowers, by planting seeds, harvesting strawberries and by tasting six other edible plant parts. Animal life cycles were introduced through interactions with milk goats and chickens, and students also explored other biological topics including animal adaptations and the presence and role of insects.
“My favorite part was when the educator, Emma, had the children sit on a deck with the view of the entire Pajaro Valley and asked them what they felt in that moment,” commented preschool teacher Jasmine Horan. “She asked them to imagine what it was like before the farms, and told us the importance of organic agriculture and using the land in a good way. It was a memorable and peaceful moment from a very rich and joyful day at the farm.”
Barr noted that the farm experience was intended to teach students about where food comes from and sustainability, and to inspire new projects in the preschool students’ class garden on campus.
“The farm trip was a great opportunity to get to know our little buddies better, and for the fourth graders to practice being positive role models,” commented fourth grade teacher Nick Cabassa. “It was also a great way for my class to see the inner workings of a local business. We spend a lot of time studying California and its resources both local and statewide. Visiting Live Earth Farm was an opportunity for the students to see, firsthand, the people and businesses that make up our diverse state.”
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Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.