To be sure this school year has been unprecedented. When the 2019/20 school year started it was like any other year. New clothes and shoes were important and a new teacher and old friends would be a top priority. Then 2020 happened and the classroom was flipped. The school was at home or in the case of the Raff family, the farm. School clothes were overalls and rubber boots and your teachers are Dad, Mom, chickens, goats, and cows. What do children learn on the farm? What if you don't live on a farm can you still learn these skills outdoors? Let's look at the top skills employers say are necessary for a good employee and see how Dare 2 Dream Farms cultivates these skills in their little farmers and how you can too.
#1 Creativity--The ability to solve problems by thinking outside the box. When faced with an enemy of vegetation, the gopher, Jeremy Raff took to the classroom with a "Saturday Lesson" on gopher trapping. Dare 2 Dream Farms is a biodynamic farm so everything they do is in balance with nature. Teaching this skill within the bounds of creativity is a life lesson that all of us need to reflect on. Other ways to foster creativity on the farm include the principles of companion planting and meal planning based on seasonal harvests. Can you use these principles to teach creativity in your own backyard?
#2 Collaboration--Being able to work together to accomplish a task or project. Aphids are bugs that can destroy the produce on a farm. How can you teach collaboration by using pests as an example? Introducing Ladybug Girl. Ladybugs naturally collaborate with nature to take care of the pests. This is called a symbiotic relationship. Ladybugs need aphids so we need ladybugs. Can you introduce collaboration as a skill in your family?
#3 Diversity Equality & Inclusion--One of the ways the children are living this skill is from the WWOOF-USA (World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming) program. Guests from all over the world have been welcomed into the Raff home and on the farm. The opportunity to cultivate diversity in nationality, race, religion, language, gender, politics, etc, is a critical and appreciated skill at the Dare 2 Dream Farm. Megan Raff is passionate about this program. "WWOOF-USA, where each person is afforded equal rights and voice in our home and in the workplace. Our kids have the opportunity to learn what's important to them and work, live, and eat alongside them as equals. We hope that our farm cultivates equality and inclusiveness as much as it cultivates food," says Megan.
#4 Emotional Intelligence--Also referred to as EQ, emotional intelligence is the ability to respond to what others need using empathy and providing support for those around you. By far the most important skill anyone can possess. EQ means being in control of your emotions and in tune with the emotions of others. At the core of farm life is emotional intelligence. Understanding our role in the quality of the soil and how the soil contributes to the quality of the air, and how the air affects the sun and how the sun helps the soil brings us full circle. We learn the most from farm life when we acknowledge the beautiful gift of life and teach our children how to care for and appreciate this gift.
Dare 2 Dream Farms located at 890 La Salle Canyon Road, Lompoc, CA 93436 offers a safe space for critical education. Call or email for more information, 805-735-3233, firstname.lastname@example.org.