The Grace Garden School and Children’s Home is set within over 18 acres of cultivated land, including grazing land, woodlands, orchard and vegetable gardens, large mature trees and a stream. There is a wide diversity of ecosystems within this, including woodlands and grassland. We care for a variety of livestock including sheep, goats, cattle, pigs and hens.
We ensure that every child and young person at the school spends time during their day outdoors; in the gardens, with the livestock on the farm and in the woodlands. Engaging in the natural environment, experiencing the seasons, helping to grow vegetables and fruit and meeting and caring for farm animals all provide opportunities for individual development. Clay is dug from the earth at The Grace Garden School for pottery, willow is collected from the river side for basket making and wool is taken from the sheep for textiles.
This can begin with early experiences of sensory engagement (e.g. touching, tasting, feeling), moving through to making relationships (e.g. feeding a sheep), through to contributing to the wider school community and locality (e.g. helping to harvest and pack vegetables for the school kitchens or home).
The farm environment offers the opportunity for a myriad of entry points depending on where the child and young person’s journey begins and, through bespoke tutor led sessions, the child and young person’s individual learning needs are planned and catered for. To do this, carefully designed activities and infrastructure are created to give the safest and most accessible opportunities for engagement in the farm landscape for our children and young people.
Engagement in the natural world is an integral part of our educational offer which contributes to the child and young person’s development of integration, understanding and well-being. Our little piece of the natural world, our farmland and grounds, are viewed as an educational journey that the child and young person can move through at their own pace.