Third Grade Farm Trip to Angelic Organics Learning Center, Caledonia, IL
The third grade farm trip —a rite of passage in Waldorf schools—meets the needs of growing nine year old students, while also stretching and challenging them in important ways. Last week our third graders embarked on this adventure. They traveled to Angelic Organics Learning Center in Caledonia, IL for three days of hands-on learning. This milestone trip is often the first time a child has been away from family for an extended period of time, which is by design. At age nine, children are at the stage of development where they are just beginning to form individual, inner worlds. They are beginning to awaken to the idea that they have thoughts, feelings, and experiences that are theirs, and theirs alone (and that this is normal and ok!)
The farm trip is a personal life experience for each child. It is an opportunity to safely step outside of the family context and explore self-sufficiency and independence. They are emboldened by doing so in parallel with fellow students, and with guidance from familiar teachers. The farm trip is a maturing experience. It is a deliberate step, moving them further outward into the world and helping them to become comfortable and confident in doing so. The third grade farm trip is also a culmination of many aspects of the curriculum they’ve studied throughout the year, which brings a deeper connection to what they’ve learned.
Over the course of their stay at Angelic Organics, students worked closely with the animals, built a garden trellis, helped to repair a cob oven, and overcame bad weather. They worked very hard each day, and on the last day they enjoyed ice cream, which they made themselves from milk that their goat friends gave them. They learned a great deal about the value of work, and the interconnectedness of themselves and the world. It was a memorable, exhausting, invigorating, and action-packed trip!