During the 9-10's fall Manhattan Country School Farm trip, students and staff had the opportunity to host several visitors. Most of the guests traveled from New York City-based pre-schools, and two visitors were from the food justice organization, Insurgo Project. They were accompanied by Monica Amaro and Vicki Roberts from the Admissions team.
The visitors observed and participated in cooking, farming, textile and nature studies classes alongside students. In nature studies, the 9-10's learned map and compass skills for an orienteering course and worked on dyeing wool and weaving on tapestry looms in textiles class.
Students in the cooking class are responsible for preparing a meal for an average of 25 kids and adults. However, during the visitor’s stay, the lunch of tacos and toppings, needed to feed 40! The class worked collectively to slice tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and onions. They grated mounds of cheese and prepared guacamole. In addition to the lunch, the students also baked four loaves of pound cake for an afternoon snack.
Our visitors were clearly impressed by the MCS student’s level of production, and even more so by their involvement in every aspect of running our farm. The mantra of the day was, “We do!” There were countless questions ranging from:
“Who cares for the honey bees?” “We do!”
“Who cares for the cows, pigs, sheep and chickens?” “We do!”
“You serve your own maple syrup?” “Yes, we do!”
The pre-school folks truly appreciated our practice of “learning through play” and child-initiated “free-times,” because it is part of their pedagogy and early childhood curriculum back in New York.
As practitioners of Farm-Based Education, it is fascinating to step back and view our program through the eyes of visitors. Our 9-10’s were incredible ambassadors, both through their verbal descriptions of the MCS Farm experience and teaching our guests by demonstration. It is truly extraordinary to witness the shear amount and depth of learning, work and play our children involve themselves in.