Bruce Elementary teacher Doug Palylyk says his students' time at the farm is transformational. Each year, the 32 year teaching veteran leads a band of Grade 4 and 5 students to the farm where they work with volunteers from UBC Farm's Intergenerational Landed Learning Program. During the multiple farm visits, students learn all about ecology and biology as well as the importance of sustainability and stewardship.
Palylyk says each lesson is based on a theme such as healthy soil or the life cycle in nature.
"It is hard to put into words how important this farm visit is," says Palylyk. "It is the ultimate outdoor classroom and there are so many curriculum areas we can blend together."
He says part of the beauty of the UBC Farm "classroom" is it caters to a wide range of talents. Everyone is dialed in and on task, be it the most gifted or the most challenged kids.
"Over the course of the year, kids develop a relationship and confidence and are willing to share this with other students," he says. "The development of these interpersonal skills is huge. We get kids who never understood where food comes from. They walk away from the farm empowered and it is a hugely powerful experience and life changing for many of them."
Palylyk says the visits frequently are noted by graduating Grade 7 students as a principal highlight in their time at Bruce Elementary.
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