Chapter 1 – Explore the main steps involved in setting up a farm visit
Carry out a pre-visit to the farm
A pre-visit is the opportunity to see the farm that you have identified for your visit, as well as meeting the farmer face-to-face. It is an opportunity to discuss with the farmer your requirements for the day and to start to plan how the visit will work. By driving to the pre-visit, you can also plan your route for the day, to see if the bus can fit up potentially narrow county lanes and to see where you will park upon arrival. During the pre-visit, you should also discuss health and safety, identify hand washing facilities and toilets, as well as discussing the types of activities that will be carried out on the day. You will also want to talk through some logistical details such as arrival and departure times and make a wet weather plan. We have put together a pre-visit checklist that will help you to ensure that you cover all of the important points during your discussion with the farmer.
Involve the children
Before going on the visit, talk to the pupils about the reasons for going to the farm and give them an accurate idea of what they will see, do and learn during the day. If the children don’t know what they are looking for, they may be overwhelmed by the experience. Therefore, it is important to have a focus for the day eg: we are going to see the animals or we are going to look at plants growing. Children may see a large number of animals, but they won’t be pets. Farm animals may not take kindly to stroking and as such may be overwhelming, hence the importance of discussing this before the visit. You can also prepare the children by undertaking food and farming related activities beforehand. These may include singing farm related songs (such as Old Macdonald had a farm) and reading farming story books (such as The Little Red Hen) so children can think about what they may see on the farm.