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ECC News

February 1, 2012

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ECC Students Learn from the Farm Animal Program

ECC students petting a donkey The Farm Animal Program at the MRH Early Childhood Center utilizes a garden along with a nearby field and barn as an interactive student learning center for animal health and care, symbiotic relationships with humans, nutrition and more. The Farm Animal Program began in May 2011 as an extension of the district’s renowned “Seed to Table” program.

The Farm Animal program is sponsored by a $2,000 donation from S. M. Wilson & Co. The money is helping bring several farm animals including turkeys, donkeys, pigs and llamas to the ECC for hands-on learning.

“The program was started to help children understand how animals help us,” said Almut Marino, coordinator of the “Seed to Table” program. “Each week, for seven weeks total, students meet a new pair of adopted animals and learned something new about each species. The program relies on the generosity of donations and on local farmers who allow the district to “adopt” their animals, which are housed in a barn on the school’s property.”

Behind the fun of the farm-at-school experience lie the lessons of the curriculum. Teachers use the animal interactions as an integral tool to help students understand nutritional needs, where meat comes from and how hides of animals are used to make our bags, shoes and other goods. Students also learn how to roll and rake hay and feed the animals, and what the nutritional difference is between hay and straw.

“The Farm Animal Program is a great opportunity for us to continue supporting the Early Childhood Center and enrich the learning experience for its young students,” said Amy Berg, president of S. M. Wilson & Co

For the students, though, the animals are more than just a lesson plan, they are part of the class.

“The kids love the animals,” said Marino. “They really enjoyed the experience. They didn’t just stand outside behind a fence.”

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.