I am the Coordinator of the Timboon Agriculture Project (TAP) a partnership between Timboon P-12 School and the industries and community that surrounds it.
The goal of the TAP is to link the school more closely to the community in which it resides to create active local champions for effective school-industry engagement among its staff, community, industry and school families. The TAP integrates agriculture / community into the curriculum to support student learning and increases applied learning opportunities to provide students with occasions to develop a range of skills, experiences and understanding beyond the boundaries of curriculum.
I had become aware of the George the Farmer books and early curriculum resources in 2015 and referred these to our school librarian and teachers as a relevant, current and fun way to introduce Australian content in agriculture to our students and staff.
The George the Farmer series, apps and supporting curriculum material are a ‘go – to’ resource for TAP teachers as the stories focus on a problem and working through to a solution whilst addressing curriculum goals, reinforcing the importance of working together in community and the relevance of agriculture. The teacher curriculum guides are on point and well supported with detailed lesson plans, learning goals and additional fun activities.
Simone Kain has personally been involved with the TAP since 2016 when she graciously agreed to a be a part of a literacy lesson for Year 3 students during a skype session as part of their English classes on author’s intent and story-telling. Students had been encouraged to write a predictive piece about what “George the Farmer” could be about and formulate questions for the children’s author.
After the Skype session the students had to write and publish their own farming story and the outcomes were insightful, resourceful and extremely well written. This exercise was repeated in 2018 for students in Years 1/2 with the same outstanding results.
That year Simone, Ben and George the Farmer were the key speakers at ‘TAP’s On!’ our annual curriculum expo where they entertained approximately 500 students in Years Prep - 4 with engaging story telling / concert, and Ben and Simone later outlined their career paths to older students and spoke about web design and seizing entrepreneurial opportunities.
After the sessions, students in Years Prep-2 welcomed Simone and George into their classrooms where they shared some of their narratives based on George’s stories. To quote one of the students, “It was the best day ever!”
The George the Farmer team have a proven track record as effective and efficient educators with thorough and diligent research and clever, strategic messaging in texts, curriculum resources and creative, fun apps supported by engaging storylines and characters that the students connect with and are invested in.
The George the Farmer book series, videos, guides and Facebook posts are rich curriculum resources that help bring STEM subjects, supported by literacy and the arts, alive in the classroom and are utilised and valued by the teachers at Timboon P-12 School.
Andrea Vallance, Timboon P-12 School, Educator