Rural Activity Centre

Toggle Point Symbols
We had a successful weekend with our results from 'The Virtual Poultry Competition'. 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Happy New Year & welcome to 2024 at Larkin Farm. It has been a cold and frosty start to the year

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We had a successful result at the 'Medway Fancier Rabbit Show' that we attended last Sunday. We took Squirt our Mini Rex rabbit and he won 'Best in Show' and 'Best in Breed'. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The donkeys were feeling very festive at our Carols On The Farm event last weekend.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The scarecrows made by the primary pupils are now proudly on display on the farm. We hope they'll keep the birds away from our winter harvest! 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The students have been busy growing an amazing range of vegetables on the farm. Some of these are being displayed at our Harvest Festival events, today. Each year, the pupils help to decide what they want to grow on the farm. This year's favourites have been; marrow, butternut squash, cabbage, pumpkin, rosemary, lemon mint and standard mint. The pupils have been fully involved in tending to the vegetables, from planting and watering, to exploring, harvesting and preparing them to feed the animals. They've even cooked some to taste themselves! 
Happy Harvest Everyone.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the summer holidays, two Cayuga ducklings were hatched. They are now 8 weeks old and are almost fully developed, apart from a few remaining fluffy feathers on their necks. After initially staying warm in the stable, under a heat lamp they are now ready to move outside and are loving meeting the other ducks in their outside enclosure. They are acclimatising well and enjoying foraging for food and bathing in their new pool. Did you know our ducks really like peas? They have essential minerals and vitamins in them, which are a great part of their healthy diet.

 

 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Larkin Farm - "Most Inspirational Educational Farm or Garden 2023" and "Best Educational Farm Project 2023" Awarded to us by the School Farms Network at the Royal Agricultural University in Gloucestershire.
We are thrilled with this recognition of our pupils' fantastic work on the farm and we will continue to strive for the best farm provision for our young people, as well as for pupils in the local community and beyond.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At the weekend we attended the South of England show and took our Kune Kune pig, Peppa. The students from across the school worked hard to follow her pre-show beauty routine, which included washing and brushing her weekly. We came away with 6th place in the 'non-breeding pet gilt class'. We were thrilled with this for her first show.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We had a great time at the 'Kent Cavy Club Royal Show' last weekend! We entered two of our guinea pigs, Nibbles and Squeaky and we won two 3rd Place prizes! Thank you to the pupils who helped prepare for the show by creating props, and well done to the Young Farmers who attended.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is fantastic to see our ducks and chickens roaming free now that Avian Bird Flu has been lifted last Tuesday. They are enjoying the freedom of more space and foraging around the larger paddock. We are still following strict biodiversity guidelines to keep them safe

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A fantastic new area was created on the farm during the Easter break by our hardworking site team. They created a 'Hedgehog Hideout' as a peaceful place for pupils to spend time and a lovely new natural environment to encourage more wildlife. We can't wait to start using it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our Cayuga ducks have been laying eggs for a couple of months and we are now seeing them change colour, due to the season progressing. They have been producing blue eggs, but now they are turning grey and black! This is very exciting for the pupils to observe. This also tells us that our ducks are happy in their environment

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We have a new accessible storage cupboard in the barn for the students to collect their tools for the job they are tasked to do on the farm. This is labelled with symbols and enables the students to learn tool recognition and to build on their confidence and independence

 

 

 

 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Equine dentist, Matteo visited last week. He checks the donkey's and pony's teeth and mouth hygiene and is fantastic in supporting the students to learn more about his job. All four patients behaved very well for the dentist and their teeth were in good health.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We have been working hard to develop our fish tank, which is situated in the boot room off of the farm classroom. The pupils have been enjoying watching the colourful fish and spotting the water snail as they prepare for their farm sessions.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Penny and Danny, our farm cats have been keeping cosy and warm on the straw bales in the barn. This is their favourite place to be snuggled up together, when they are not exploring the farm.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All staff at Abbey Court School took part in a challenge afternoon on Larkin Farm!
In teams the staff had a range of tasks to complete, such as; making demonstration videos on how to groom/handle various animals, completing a scavenger hunt, making a collage out of natural materials, learning how to fill & tie up a hay net safely & securely, making up feeds for various animals and much more... 
The farm was buzzing with excitement and it was a great opportunity for staff to develop their skills on the farm, ready for a new year of learning with the pupils at Abbey Court School!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We are extremely proud of our school farm!       
We opened The Abbey Court Rural Activities Centre in 2020. This long awaited project came about from a desire to enrich our curriculum and offer pupils a learning environment that would engage, motivate and prepare them for the future. Animals and the outside environment are strong motivators for many of our pupils. They provide a rich and broad range of learning opportunities, including developing life skills, the chance to work with others, to be a part of a community, to develop new and existing skills in different contexts and to nurture hobbies and interests they can take into adulthood.
With a bespoke classroom, dedicated farm staff and a fully accessible farm, we have developed a curriculum to enable pupils to:
• Learn how to care for animals, plants and wildlife
• Learn important life skills
• Have real work experience opportunities
• Develop their communication skills
• Be a part of whole school projects 
• Enrich and embed their classroom learning
• Use and apply skills from subject such as Mathematics, Geography, Science and PSHE in a real life setting
Our farm is constantly growing and developing. We currently have a number of different animals living on the farm, including, Donkeys, Shetland Ponies, Goats, Rabbits and Chickens. The pupils are also helping us to develop the polytunnel, where we have already successfully grown a range of fruit and vegetables, which many of the pupils have enjoyed tasting! 
The curriculum for our Rural Activities Centre is made up of two elements:
The Curriculum Overview: Outlines core areas of learning and experience that will be available for all pupils to access when they visit the farm. Progression has been mapped to outline how different age groups will be provided with progressive and age appropriate learning opportunities, whilst retaining opportunities to re-visit key elements as they progress through the school. The overview aims to give focus to key ideas within farming whilst allowing pupils to access these ideas at an ability level appropriate to them. 
Whole school termly projects are a rolling programme of topics, accessed by the whole school. These give the opportunity to promote team work, inclusion and offer the opportunity for pupils of different age groups to work together. Each topic offers the opportunity to develop a range of skills as well as linking to the National Curriculum and enriching pupils’ existing class based learning.