The Demeter House School Farm is a site on the outskirts of Caistor, where the upper school students visit for Animal Care and Forest School. The Farm itself consists of a grid of horse paddocks lined with dirt lanes, but it’s true beauty is found hidden behind an archway in the trees. Through this concealed entrance is a peaceful clearing with the pastures of various animals around it’s edge and a fishing pond at it’s centre.
On weekdays you can hear the trundling of the school bus as it trudges up the lane before rolling to a halt beside two curious Shetland ponies. Then, as if a team of (soon-to-be) expert handlers, the students step from the bus and into the routine of caring for the animals.When I accompanied a trip to the farm, I was able to watch as, with only the verbal directions of the teacher, the students were each able to complete their tasks about the farm – be it turning off the electrical fences, giving the animals their feed or helping the teacher to clean out the results of said feed.
Alongside the two ponies, the students also help to care for three young goats, affectionately named Mel, Michelle and Linda, a coop-full of chickens and two sultan hens, and a horse in one of the farm’s paddocks.
Once done with their respective chores, the students usually spend some time pole fishing with sweetcorn while waiting for the others – a relaxed pass time aside from the occasional mischievous duck.
Away from the sometimes hustle and bustle of school life, The Farm provides students with a calm respite while managing to impart both practical knowledge and skills, as well as teaching them the responsibilities of caring for animals. The Farm has already come a long way since the first time I visited it, nearly a year before this post, and I, for one, can’t wait to see it as we progress into Spring and Summer.