27 years ago, Heather Norman landed on an Iowa farm, somewhat accidentally. She never set out to be a FarmHer – she was, and still is, a teacher. An opportunity to purchase a preschool with a farm focus, presented itself, so Heather jumped at the chance. From there, Kinderfarm Preschool was born. She has always had a love for teaching kids, and mixing that with a farm turned out to be just her thing.
The Classroom is the Farm
Near Iowa City, IA, our day at Kinderfarm Preschool started about the same time as all of her students. We rolled in during drop off time, and car-by-car the kids jumped out, put on their rubber boots and hit the yard running for an exciting day ahead.
Our first stop of the day was out in the barnyard. We formed a line with kids, dogs and a cat in the mix, and out we went to feed the goats, pics, llamas, ducks and horses. It is the kids’ responsibility to feed and do chores for the animals – just part of the farm-focused curriculum at Kinderfarm! Up next, the students harvested some greens. Heather shared that the kids helped plant the veggies earlier in the spring, and now got the satisfaction of harvesting them. We were a little skeptical that they would actually eat them for lunch, but the way that Heather included them in the process from planting to picking to washing made it an exciting part of their meal!
Learning Life Lessons, Too
Back outside, the kids went for a little play time while Heather got the pony ready for some rides! She explained that they try to do pony rides once a week. That day some of the kids were newer and hadn’t ever ridden a horse. She went on to share that they learn so much from the rides – confidence, balance, focus and more. We watched as kid-after-kid climbed up on the pony and took their turn taking a bareback ride around the pasture. We also couldn’t help but notice how well-behaved all of the others were while waiting their turn. Structure, rules, plenty of outdoor time, interesting things to learn all play into a very well-mannered group of little kids on the farm!
Our day wrapped to a close with a great big GOODBYE from Heather and all of the kids at Kinderfarm. It was definitely a first to see a farm-focused preschool and a very cool and unique first, indeed! We loved seeing the great learning environment that Heather provides for the kids. With a gentle heart and steady hand, she guides each student though their day, one farm visit at a time.