The Farm Project

A Project by Three-, Four-, and Five-Year-Old children at Hillsboro Prekindergarten Program, Hillsboro, Illinois

Length of project: 4 weeks
Teachers:  Debbie Noyes

Phase One—Beginning the Project

Living in a rural community, the children were somewhat familiar with farms.  Even though some had never been on a farm, they had all seen a field of corn or cows in the pasture.  A farm of miniature horses is adjacent to our school yard and for months the children watched the horses from the playground.  Children's conversations revealed a strong interest in farms and the differences in knowledge about farms.  Parents were asked to send in photographs, drawings, stories, and other items which indicated experiences that their children had on a farm.  In small groups, these experiences were discussed and questions, comments, and misconceptions recorded.

Phase Two—Developing the Project

A parent offered to host a visit to the family’s dairy farm. This visit was the beginning of the field work. We read many books about farms, both fiction and non-fiction. Before our visit to the dairy farm, the children generated a list of the things they wondered about. The list was taken to the farm to be sure the questions were answered. The classroom environment was structured to provide opportunities for investigation of farm-related materials and opportunities for representation. Many of these materials were donated or loaned to the classroom by parents. We also visited the farm next to the school. The children became interested in the barn at the farm and later were able to do observational drawings of the barn from our school yard.

The children continued to represent their knowledge of farms through dramatic play, dictated stories, drawings, paintings, and conversations.

Phase Three—Concluding the Project

As a culminating activity, several children decided to make a "giant picture" or mural about farms. The group discussed what should be included in the mural. Next, they decided who would be responsible for each part. The group then carried out their plan using skills in problem solving and cooperating

Comments

This project is an example of how important it is for children to have some previous experience with the topic and prior knowledge to bring to the project. This project was successful. The children were able to ask good questions because they already had some knowledge of farms. This project would probably not have been as successful in an urban setting just as a project on elevators or apartment buildings would not be appropriate in a rural setting like this one.

farm_1.jpg (36105 bytes)  farm_2.jpg (33766 bytes)

Project Summaries

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