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I Fell in Love with Prairie Hill--A Montessori Farm

Please read my Alternative Education: Montessori post if you haven't heard the term before and are interested. In short, everything from furniture, tools, and toys are child-size, enabling the children to 'work' at their own pace, and become independent and secure in the job they are doing.
Lukka and Anikka at a child-size picnic table eating lunch prepared by the children!

A few weeks ago my mother, kids, and I packed up for the day to go to Prairie Hill's annual Children's Festival. Prairie Hill is a Montessori farm just outside of Lincoln that is about as sustainable as you can get. The main building (elementary aged kids) is made completely out of straw and solar panels, cutting down costs and bulking up insulation for winter and summer.
The smaller children were split into two other buildings determined by age: 18 months -3 years in one room, and 3 years-6 years in the old Farmhouse building.

Just walking into the farmhouse and seeing all of the child-sized furniture and tools, and kitchen(!) was so fun. We were happy to get a tour of the entire farm and talk to a lot of the facilitators one-on-one. The children grow their own vegetables, plan meals, chop & prepare their food, recycle their scraps to the chickens (of which lay the eggs some of the kid's meals are based upon!), and take care of the farm animals including a few ponies, a sheep, some peafowl, chickens, and ducks. It would be quite the fun adventure for a small child!

Shetland ponies pulling a small cart with children around the farm.

Before I gush like a school-girl anymore or you realize how geeked-out I get over educational theory, let me say this: the day we were at the farm was relaxing and all the adults and children were truly engaged in their creative & purposeful play. All ages were proud of their work and that is so refreshing.

During the annual festival, there is plenty of {health food} to eat, games to play, and computers to take apart. Yes. You read that right, they even had a station that included safety goggles, tools like screwdrivers & pliers, and old appliances like keyboards, computer towers, and vacuums for the children to take apart and learn form. They had pony rides, wooden forts to climb, and a dress up area alongside water play and the chicken coop.

Lukka painting his face. The workers were so happy he wanted to do it independently!

Montessori theory values how the child learn--through imitation and purposeful interaction and 'work' and Prairie Hill was a fantastic little replica of how that is put into reality. The children who I observed there were thriving, and every single parent I talked to really loved it, and loved being involved in their child's schooling. Many parents even work there alongside their children, or volunteer. There are summer programs I learned about, that go for two weeks July & August are nature based and for children ages 6-15.

Lukka taking a ride in the cart. No doubt his favorite part of the day!
If you're interested in learning more about Prairie Hill, please go to their website. This tells a bit about their curriculum for children and this shows you a map of the farm and what types of farm-related activities the children do on a daily & yearly basis.
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Comments

julie k said…
How did we not see you? We were there, too!
kylee said…
What a fun learning opportunity! You will have to remind me of this event next year, as I'm sure that Azra would love it!
Do you mind if I link to your blog post from Prairie Hill's Facebook page?

This year's Children's Country Fair is Saturday, August 27 from 11:00-3:00.

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