A School With a Farm!

Hadiqa is a Farm School. The philosophy grows out of the “Nature Schools” movement.  Children at primary level learn through direct contact with nature and the world around them. They grow food, learn about plants, and use Nature for artistic inspiration: story writing, drawing and painting, singing, and drama and movement.

Photo by Tatiana on Pexels.com

Hadiqa is the primary division of our school. When Solen first started her long conversation with me about this school she was keen on including the animal sanctuary she was involved in. She was convinced that children learnt important qualities of compassion and care from contact with animals and nature.

I have been working with Woofers for years in Spain. Woofers are organic farm volunteers who help us on our small plot in rural Asturias. I had direct experience of people’s need to reconnect with the land. I say reconnect because the volunteers who have come here have mostly been escaping from town and city life to the country. There is a whole generation that has little experience of the soil and what it can provide.

Spain is one thing. It rains a lot here. UAE is another. At first the idea of an organic farm in UAE was hard for me to square with my images of the desert and the sea. However, I have come to realize that this is precisely the environment where learning about food and food production has the most vital connection with children’s lives. UAE is engaging in some substantial investment in farming. The next generation will have some important decisions to make. It is in the news right now.

Questions of how to promote sustainable agriculture in arid environments are studied in the south of Spain. My son went to work at Sunseed in the south of Spain. I can see many ways of making connections between this and other projects around the world. Children are open to learning about where their food comes from. This is real education in a nutshell. I have been following many schools that have been getting kids to grow food in vegetable plots. The results are excellent.

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Hadiqa gives children an in-depth understanding of where and how food is grown, the importance of nutrition and health, agriculture, and hands on learning through gardening.  Environmental science and Mathematics grow naturally from children’s engagement with real things. We acknowledge Slow Food International’s Themes:

  • Food and Health
  • Bees
  • Climate Change
  • Family Farming
  • Food Waste
  • GMOs

Interdisciplinary Activities will cover important world issues as well as concepts in the core curriculum from Mathematics to Literacy and Science.

Play in Hadiqa

Play will also be encouraged in the learning process. 

Academic research shows that active play is the natural and primary way that children learn. It is essential to their healthy growth and progress, particularly during periods of rapid brain development. We must place adequate importance on play now, so that our precious children grow up into successful, well-rounded and happy adults.

Sir Ken Robinson

Our play spaces will include:

  • Adventure – physical challenges including climbing and balancing
  • Paths, trails and maps
  • Imagination and creative play – building, making art, playing make-believe
  • Special places – forts and dens either found or made
  • Loose parts- things that can be manipulated such as rocks, sticks, sand, pinecones, leaves, etc.

Children will have choices about how and what they learn.

Photo by Charles Parker on Pexels.com

The emphasis at this stage of schooling is to create love of learning while learning basic skills. 

Published by Jason Preater

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