We consider ourselves very lucky at TWIS, while others celebrate Earth Day once a year, we can have Earth Day literally every day. How so? Amidst our modern campus and technology, we have our own farm where students can commune with nature at any time of the day.
Recently inaugurated, the TWIS Farm is an initiative of the academic staff who put forth a proposal to the board outlining the many benefits of having our own farm. Our farm has opened up many transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching experiences to enhance our curriculum.
For Grade 1 homeroom teacher, Ms. Keisel, the farm is a place to learn about life cycles, such as tadpoles turning into frogs. Grade 1 learns about food chains; and will be able to make connections that when hens lay eggs, we can have scrambled eggs for breakfast.
For our science teachers, Ms. Lesli and Mr. Cherlito, the farm gives students a first-hand learning experience to observe how the animals and plants are interrelated and dependent on each other. All students can observe the behavior of animals in their own habitat, their interaction, and their survival skills.
For example, students are creating vermicompost. They have to work collaboratively to make this happen as their inquiry led them to understand the importance of natural fertilizers for our plants in the farm.
For Grade 5 teacher, Mr. Oliver, the farm opens up possibilities of investigating different inventions that developed during the Agricultural Revolution to facilitate farming, particularly animal husbandry and nutritious diets.
The farm is not only a place where we can acquire knowledge and understanding, or learn new skills BUT it is also a place where we can demonstrate the IB learner profile attributes and the TWIS STRIVE Values of self-discipline, responsibility, integrity, virtue & empathy. There are so many opportunities for our students to become thinkers, and knowledgeable inquirers.
Our students learn how to be CARING: the farm is the home of animals and plants so we have to be careful not to disturb them too much. We learn to be PRINCIPLED by following the safety and security guidelines when we go to the farm.
It is a place where we can practice using some of the affective skills that we talk about in our classes such as practice dealing with disappointment and unmet expectations - we cannot force rabbits to eat when they’re not hungry. Having our own farm allows our students to identify with each living creature, and thus seeing how the school community is more inclusive and open to world connectivity.
How? Why don't we have a look at some of our students' feedback from Earth Day: