ELIANT Conference November 28th, 2017
TOWARDS A HEALTHY DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM
Workshop 4, Summary
The workshop presented educational farm-school projects conducted in Germany and The Netherlands. Both speakers (Peter Altmeyer and Ronald Heusschen) have successfully established farm-schools at which children and pupils can experience nature and real-life situations again.
The main findings can be summarized as follows:
The health of children has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. In particular, a modified nerve system can be observed already at birth. Children are really in need of a “healing education” – an education that focusses on the health of parents, teachers and pupils.
A reconnection and re-naturalisation of childhood and predominantly experiences in playing in nature – and agricultural pedagogics – are mandatory. This process will have to grow in order to compensate for the detrimental consequences of digitalisation.
Teachers for children with special needs experience, that these children (with a variety of diagnoses) show that respective behaviour much less, when they are working and learning on the farm. So, the environment a child is in, determines for a great part the child’s behaviour. And a farm seems to be the richest learning environment that exists. Experiences of connectedness in childhood is the steppingstone to a basic attitude of connectedness in later, adult life.
Working and learning at a farm-school also means, that children develop not only respect towards nature, plants and animals, but also for the other children and for the farmer. And children are able to discover their own talents by meeting new challenges with which they have to deal. They can experience and express feelings of pride and self-assurance on the one hand. And feelings of tenderness and connection on the other hand. Social structures and culture seem to benefit from working together on a farm.
Thus, farm-based education is a rich and beneficial way of learning and will be needed more and more in technically high-developed societies.
Dr. Andreas Biesantz (moderator)
Peter Altmeyer (speaker)
Ronald Heusschen (speaker)