Posted on Mon, Jan. 04, 2010
Agriculture focus helps rural Kansas school
BY RICK PLUMLEE
The Wichita Eagle
WALTON — On a recent frosty morning, Carol Budde had her fifth-graders attempting to dig post holes through snow and ice on school grounds.
It was just another hands-on science and math exercise at the Walton Rural Life Center.
The students were learning about how the weather affects Earth's composition. At the same time, they were applying what they had learned about figuring area and perimeter as they laid out a pen for the pigs they are raising.
"This is the fun part," fifth-grader Haley Southern said.
And fun in learning translates into better understanding of the information and a hunger to learn more. That's how it's working out for Walton since it began using agriculture in 2007 as the basis for its curriculum.
"We pull everything into agriculture," Budde said.
And she does mean everything, and for all grades, kindergarten through fifth. From math and science to reading and art, the school presents all subjects to students while incorporating an assortment of animals, chickens, a garden, a greenhouse and agriculture-related projects as learning tools. Read More
Teaching agriculture in our classrooms is very important. Our society has forgotten what it takes to put food on the table because most of them are so many generations removed from it. Congratulations to everyone involved with the Walton Rural Life Center. I know that not every school could move to this type of curriculum, but they have created a model that hopefully more schools can at least take a portion of and integrate. The one thing that I really want to point out is that part of the success is due to the farming and ranching families located nearby that volunteered to adopt a classroom to make it even more successful. We can’t sit back waiting for someone else to do things like this for us.