Lockdown learning goes from dairy farm to living room
4 May 2020
School children learning about dairy farming with a Farming Kit language mat.
With term two of the school year now underway, thousands of young kiwis will be including dairy farming in their studies while they’re learning from home.
This year DairyNZ worked with School Kit to develop an innovative learning resource about dairy farming so young kiwis could learn about the people and animals involved in dairy farming, as one of New Zealand’s largest sectors.
Copies of the Farming Kit resource have been distributed to around 3000 families with children aged five to seven as part of the support for distance learning during COVID-19.
“Farming is part of our DNA in New Zealand and the school kits provide a great opportunity for children to learn where their food comes from, the nutritional benefits of dairy and the wonderful lifestyle farming offers,” said DairyNZ strategy and investment leader, Dr David Burger.
The Farming Kit resource is typically available to teachers, who teach it in the classroom. It has been adopted by hundreds of schools to date. The 3000 Farming Kits are now being provided for free directly to families. Key words in the resource have been translated into Te Reo Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Hindi and Punjabi.
“The provision of resources to children in their homes is a fantastic move from the Ministry of Education in what is a challenging time for everyone,” said Dr Burger. “We’re thrilled to see these kits going directly to students who are now learning from home.
“Principals and teachers tell us very few of these children will have been on a dairy farm, so this will make for fun and engaging learning. We suspect some schools will be very keen to get children on a farm, once visits are possible again!”
The Farming Kit is available to all teachers and parents online. The teacher’s guide and support materials can be downloaded from the DairyNZ Schools website to share with children.
The kit includes an interactive language and activities mat that shares fun and insightful information about farming, along with podcasts, stories, music and lively educational tasks.
“It is hands-on and designed to get children actively involved in challenges, while learning about dairy farming,” said Dr Burger.
Other popular DairyNZ school kits include learning how to make cheese and ice cream, and the dairy sector’s overall supply chain behind making such yummy treats.
The DairyNZ school kits are funded by New Zealand dairy farmers, through the DairyNZ levy which funds industry good activities including research, development, regional extension, policy and advocacy, and community initiatives.
DairyNZ’s education programme also encourages teachers, parents and students to get involved in learning about dairy farming through the Rosie’s World website, planned school farm visits and other environmental initiatives, including helping with riparian planting on farms.
DairyNZ looks forward to feedback on the children’s experience with the Farming Kit.
“We hope they will find it an enjoyable way to learn about an important sector to New Zealand which is in a fortunate position to be making a positive difference as an essential service during COVID-19. And who knows – we may inspire some children to be future farmers,” said Dr Burger.
For more information:
DairyNZ Schools website: dairynzschools.co.nz
DairyNZ education programme: dairynz.co.nz/education
Rosie’s World: rosiesworld.co.nz
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