GREENVILLE – Greenville kindergartners had a mini farm day Thursday, thanks to two of their teachers, Lydia Bremmer and David Heffelfinger.
As part of their curriculum, kindergartners are reading Farmers Then & Now, which describes how farming and harvesting has advanced with advances in technology.
Bremmer said Thursday’s hands-on activity was “to make the kids aware of how farming has changed.”
Heffelfinger demonstrated sheep shearing, showing students old-fashioned shears farmers used by hand to sheer their sheep. He then picked up a set of electric shears and let the students listen to how they sound before shearing some wool.
Heffelfinger invited students to come up one-by-one to touch the wool and the sheep, if they wished.
The kindergartners had lots of questions, of course, including how long it would take for the wool to grow back.
Heffelfinger compared shearing to getting a haircut.
“Remember when I asked you if you’d ever gotten a haircut?” Heffelfinger asked. “It’s like that. By January she’ll have enough wool to need sheared again. It naturally happens, just like our hair.”
Future farmer Brandt Weaver, 6, seemed quite at home with sheep shearing.
“I have goats, chickens and rabbits,” Weaver said. “I have another animal…oh, yes, a pig.”
Brandt said he would like to farm when he grows up and take animals to the county fair.
When asked if he grew corn or soybeans on his farm, Weaver was quick to answer “no, we don’t grow things like that. We grow tomatoes, squash, watermelon (which the dog ate), zucchini, and cucumbers,”
he said, also explaining how he learned “how the wool is soft and it will grow back” when he listened to Heffelfinger’s presentation.
A discussion about the many uses of wool – as well as lanolin – was part of Heffelfinger’s presentation.
Students also had the opportunity to learn all about harvesting corn on Thursday.
Bremmer, whose brother drove the family’s combine to school, displayed stalks of corn, showing how farmers used a knife in the days before machinery to harvest their rows of corn.
She also explained how the combine works and all the comforts of home today’s farmers enjoy while combining.
“This has a radio, heat, air conditioning,” she said. “It even has a computer that tells the farmer all about the corn he’s harvesting.”
Bremmer gave each kindergartner an ear of corn to shell into buckets – which Bremmer said she would be feeding to the squirrels on her farm.
Farming is one of many topics the kindergartners are introduced to in their reading assignments, Bremmer said.
“And we added some social studies to this unit,” she explained.
PHOTO CAPTION: Kindergartner Hunter Smith is hard at work shelling corn into a bucket – the old-fashioned way. (Susan Hartley photo)