In our educational world of one-to-one devices, educational apps, interactive internet-connected boards, and the firehose of information we are trying to teach our kids to navigate, more and more teachers are looking to balance the digital experience with authentic, tactile, and tangible experiences. For instance, many teachers are seeking an outdoor, real world experience of a real farm, where the kids can explore, get a little dirty, and go home with stories to tell. We are that place!
STRUCTURED VS UNSTRUCTURED TIME
Here at the Treinen Farm, we tend to lean toward child-led discovery and learning. We try to provide that right balance: enough structure (the hayride + pumpkin or the maze) to keep things from descending into chaos, but also enough freedom for kids to explore all the farm has to offer and to make up their own ways to learn and interact with the environment and each other.
UNIQUE PHYSICAL EXPERIENCES
A slippery, green, mossy log. The rough surface of a jute rope. Echoes in a vast, empty silo. The actual oinks of actual pigs and the clucking of chickens. Farmyard smells and autumn leaves.
We often think about how sensory experiences can stay with us for a long time, and we love the idea of creating these intense memories for children (and adults!) An incredible amount of learning can take place when multiple senses are engaged–it’s not the kind of learning that will necessarily show up immediately on a test score, but it’s real and visceral and and good in the long-term for both mind and body.
You never know what’s going to happen at the Treinen Farm. Will the goats escape and require the field trip kids to help corral them? How big a pumpkin can that determined Kindergartner carry? Will you remember to have the kids empty their pockets after playing in the corn pit, or will your class bring back shiny yellow kernels of corn to use for math manipulatives next week? The discovery of a salamander might slow down the pumpkin picking, but A SALAMANDER!!!!
As we design experiences, we prefer to provide enough predictability to keep the field trip running smoothly and to keep teachers relaxed, but also enough flexibility to let interesting things happen. That’s what life’s about, right? Interesting things…
DO REAL THINGS. OUTSIDE. BRING FRIENDS.
The Treinen Farm hosts thousands of Wisconsin school children each year during the fall and we are committed to creating captivating experiences for them, and friendly service to the teachers.
And be sure to visit us on fall weekends–all the above applies to weekend guests, including adults, as well as field trips!