UFU takes farming to primary schools

UFU deputy president Victor Chestnutt launches the 'Dig In' schools resource with help from P2 pupil Jack McHenry and P7 teacher Mark McHenry from Rowandale Integrated Primary School in Moria.Picture: Cliff Donaldson
UFU deputy president Victor Chestnutt launches the 'Dig In' schools resource with help from P2 pupil Jack McHenry and P7 teacher Mark McHenry from Rowandale Integrated Primary School in Moria.Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has joined forces with Agri Aware to help primary school children understand what happens on farms.

A new teaching pack gives children from urban as well as rural areas an opportunity to understand life on a farm, the origin of food and the importance of farming and food in Northern Ireland.

The aim is to help teachers deliver key messages. UFU deputy president, Victor Chestnutt, says the aim was to develop a teaching resource that is engaging and enjoyable.

“We are delivering on this goal with a lesson plan that offers a range of interactive activities and exercises through a number of modules. The aim is to get a serious message across in a way children enjoy,” he said.

The resource, which has been named ‘Dig In’, is in four modules corresponding to levels of ability across all stages of primary education.

Mr Chestnutt says the UFU believes this will become established as a key tool for any teacher delivering agricultural or land based lessons as part of their wider teaching plan.

Dig In was distributed to 250 primary schools across Northern Ireland and it has attracted positive comments from principals and the Education Authority. The success of the resource will be evaluated with teachers later in the year.

“We believe the resource pack will help with communication, literacy and social development skills,” said Mr Chestnutt. He added that central to the UFU investment in the resource was a belief that educating children on where their food comes will help build their understanding of food.

“This will help establish healthy eating habits, and a sound understanding of the role farming plays in delivering the countryside we all enjoy – whether we live in it, or visit it,” he said.