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Delighted to support Janet Duke Primary’s eco initiative.

Whilst the Education World mourns the loss of Michael Gove as Secretary of State (well, someone must be sorry) we at Old Macdonald’s Farm ponder on the type of education that excites children and encourages them to take a wide view of the world and prepare for the future. Just taking SATS and sciences does not broaden the mind and when Old Macdonald ponders the many changes in his long, and not so illustious, life he thinks that what children need perhaps more than “learning” is the ability and passion to keep learning all through their lives. And of course he believes they need to have a passion for conservation, the environment and of course the natural world.

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That was why, earlier this year, he was entranced by the email below:

“My name is Laura Retigan and I am the Eco Schools co-ordinator at Janet Duke Primary School. Three years ago we started introducing animals to our school to help give the children a sense of responsibility and enjoyment as well as enhancing the eco and science curriculum. We now have 13 chickens, 7 guinea pigs, 8 rabbits and 2 tortoises. We have rescued all of our rabbits and tortoises.

I have a small group of children called the eco captains who are the main caregivers to the animals and give up every break and lunchtime to feed, water, clean out and care for the animals. They have learnt a lot about the diet of the animals and how best to care for them. The children have also taken part in a daytime ITV programme called Auf Weidersehen My Pet which was a rehoming programme. The children really impressed the crew and a small animal advisor from Wood Green animal sanctuary which resulted in the owner of four guinea pigs choosing to rehome her pets at our school.

The majority of the Eco Captains are in Year 6 and only have a term until they go to secondary school. They have worked tirelessly since they were in year 4 with the animals and I would really like to arrange a special treat for them before they leave. I was wondering whether it would be possible to arrange for the children to come to Old Macdonald’s Farm to shadow a worker for a day or part of a day? They would really enjoy this experience but I also think it would be beneficial for them as some of the children have expressed an interest in working with animals when they are older. They can also bring back anything they learn and implement it with their own animals at school.”

Now how could he say no? Well, easily really as he can be a miserable whatsit from time to time, but he most certainly did not and therefore on 17th June the Eco Captains came and with the superb help as always of our volunteers Natasha and Daniel we took them away from the rabbits and into the pigs, the owls and even the Meerkat enclosure. They were a wonderful group and we hope they all come with their families to visit us again, and that Janet Duke school and their imaginative staff and superb pupils come again next year!

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If your school wants to visit the farm for a special day out, just let us know!



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