Continuing an annual tradition of teaching young children about food and agriculture, students in the Early Childhood Associate program at Vance-Granville Community College held “Farm Day” in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus on April 19. The sixth annual event brought to campus some 600 four-year-olds from day care centers, schools, and Head Start facilities in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties. The children enjoyed a variety of booths, manned by VGCC students who led children in activities, games, songs and stories that focused on farm life and nutritious eating. Upon their departure, the children were given small terrariums to help them learn about how plants grow. The event was co-sponsored by local Farm Bureau organizations in Franklin, Granville and Vance counties. Farm Day is an example of “service learning,” an innovative teaching and learning strategy that integrates community service with academic instruction.
Special guests at this year’s event included Willie the Squirrel (courtesy of North Carolina Farm Bureau) and Vance County 4-H, which brought live goats, sheep and chickens. The Early Childhood students hatched their own chicks to bring to the event as well.
As in the past, Vance County Farm Bureau provided an artificial cow that helped children learn about milking. But this year, using the Farm Bureau’s model as a prototype, students in the VGCC Welding and Carpentry programs built two additional cows, which were then painted by VGCC Art instructor Scott Garrison.
Each year, Farm Day seeks to introduce young children and their teachers to “Ag in the Classroom,” a statewide service of the North Carolina Farm Bureau. NC Ag in the Classroom (http://www.ncagintheclassroom.com/) is an educational program designed to provide teachers with quality materials to teach students of various ages, through North Carolina competency-based lessons, about the sources of their food and fiber, and the importance of agriculture to the economy. VGCC students selected lessons from NC Ag in the Classroom’s pre-school curriculum and set up their learning stations based on those lessons.
VGCC offers programs leading to certificates, diplomas and associate’s degrees in Early Childhood education. For more information, contact Early Childhood program head Tracey Bennett at (252) 738-3471.