Summerfield House has a smallholding farm where all the children can see a full range of farm animals and vegetables. Children are not allowed to touch the animals and we follow strict hygiene procedures at the hand washing area when they return from their visit.
Keeping Clean, Keeping Safe
Childen enjoy feeding the animals through "letterbox" type openings in each pen and are able to collect eggs, without touching the hens/ducks.
Various breeds of hens are kept in separate pens. This educates children in the natural world; they see hens and ducks in a multitude of sizes, colours and shapes.
In addition to seeing poultry hatch out chickens in their nests, we use an incubator so that the children can see babies hatching through the incubator window; every year children ask “how did you know that a chicken was inside the egg?”
Healthy Food for a Healthy Life
Vegetables are grown in a secure fenced off allotment area. Our gardener and staff supervise the children whilst they plant potatoes, onion sets and other seeds large enough for the children to handle, such as sunflowers and garden peas.
A visit once asked "What are these?" pointing to the carrots; he had only seen carrots in a supermarkets, and not actually growing.
At harvest time, the children dig up the potatoes and collect vegetables. Parents then take home a Summerfield bag of vegetables grown by their child – hopefully the children are encouraged to eat what they have grown!
Caring for Animals at a Young Age
The farm also has pigs, turkeys, fish, sheep and other animals. The pigs are Kune Kune breed, which come in multi colours. With a dad and two mums we have loads of pigs of various ages and colours; last time 8 piglets arrived overnight! The turkeys share a pen with Guineas, Doves, and other domestic animals.
A colourful display of ducks share the water pond with fish; fresh water flows through this pond on the way to the adjoining river. Mandarin, Indian Runner, Call Duck, and Mallard are just some of the duck breeds that the children feed and enjoy watching. Big Geese and secure fencing keep the fox away.