LEAF Education is calling on primary and secondary school teachers to consider the benefits of farm visits when booking Covid-secure outdoor learning experiences. The leading education organisation, which provides experiential, curriculum-linked on-farm activities and resources for all Key Stages (EYFS – 5), has highlighted the positive impact farm visits can have on the mental and physical wellbeing of young people. Last year, 100% of teachers who ran LEAF Education farm visits said they would recommend them to another teacher, whilst a further 80% said they would rate LEAF Education’s work as ‘very good’ or ‘outstanding’.
Carl Edwards, Director of Education and Public Engagement at LEAF Education, explains: “Farm visits can be transformative experiences for many young people. Not only do they bring them closer to how their food is produced, raise their awareness of the role of farming in meeting climate change, but they also provide inspiring, educational and sensory-rich environments for learning outside the classroom. Studies[i] also show that regular, direct access to nature can also help increase self-esteem; improve concentration, learning, creativity, cognitive development, cooperation, flexibility and self-awareness and support healthier food choices. With restrictions slowly easing, there has never been a better time for young people to get out on a farm and build deeper connections with the outside world.”
All LEAF Education farm visits are led and delivered by qualified Regional Educational Consultants (RECs) and are tailored to suit the needs of each school and their students.
LEAF Education also offers farm visit training, with teachers being offered educational handbooks that contain all the essential aspects of organising school farm visits: from what to include in a risk assessment, to linking visits to the curriculum. Information is also provided on the types of farms offering visits, as well as what teachers should look for on a pre-visit. An online workshop is also available for trainee teachers organising farm visits.
LEAF Education works across the education, farming and food sectors to inspire and engage teachers and young people about food production, farming and the environment. It manages a number of leading industry and educational initiatives, including Farmer Time (live, on-farm virtual education sessions), CEVAS for outdoor learning providers and Countryside Classroom (online information portal for teachers). LEAF Education also provides teachers with curriculum and exam specifications, as well as focused training, tools and resources to help them deliver high-quality learning experiences about food production, farming and the environment.
Main research paper from UCL here – can cite this one, as its UCL and Wildlife Trust. But plenty of others that link natural and benefits more widely
Mind (mental health charity) also talks about it its importance: