Ficino School’s visit to Ambury Farm

Ficino School students experienced several off-site learning adventures in Term 3.  The chance to support their classroom learning with real world experiences provides them with a valuable means to solidify and build on their knowledge.

Situated on the shores of the Manukau Harbour, Ambury Regional Park is a working farm.  It provides opportunities for children to interact with a wide range of farm animals including pigs, sheep (with lambs!) and goats together with chickens, turkeys, rabbits and peacocks!

As a working farm, children get to see dairy cows and learn more about the processes that go into dairy farming, one of New Zealand’s largest off-shore export products.

All students enjoyed watching the shearing of a sheep and touching and smelling the fur that came from it.  Students, and the intrepid Mrs Crompton, enjoyed going down the chute that delivers animals straight into the hands of the shearer (though luckily they escaped such a fate themselves!).

Seeing a couple of cows hooked up to the milking machines while a random chicken wandered fearlessly under their legs gave the children confidence to pat them.  How amazing to see the warm milk that came out of the cows in a bucket rather than a milk bottle that we’re all familiar with!

Next up, Year One students got to feed some cows celery (they love their greens!) before moving on to the baby farm animals.  Getting to pat calves, watch little piglets with their sow, and feed sheep and goats was a fantastic experience, though the bottle feeding of the lambs may have been the favourite.  Add in feeding the chickens and turkeys and the children were ready for their own feeding time, eating lunch in the great outdoors.

In the meantime, Year Three students were learning more about dairy farming.  Students learnt about the process of producing milk, to turning it into dairy products for purchase in the shops.

Not only did they learn how to separate milk and cream, they also watched how butter is made from that separated cream.

All our children had a wonderful day out in the fresh air, bracing though it was with blasts of icy rain and hail!

These experiences, together with the opportunities our students get to tend and harvest the school gardens gives them a valuable understanding of the food production cycle and an appreciation for the processes that food goes through on its way to a supermarket or fruit and vege shop.