When asked the question, “Have you heard of Farm to ECE?” many will say no. Maybe it’s the formal name or the acronym “ECE?” Whatever it is, if you’re working with young children, I am willing to bet you practice some form of Farm to ECE in your setting and don’t realize it.
One of the most common Farm to ECE activities this time of year is the annual field trip to the apple orchard or pumpkin patch. Picking apples from trees or seeing fields of pumpkins on their vines are valuable hands-on experiences. Sure, the kids may get most excited about rolling around a corn pool, pedaling tractors, or eating an apple cider donut, but the entire experience is full of educational opportunities. Learning that apples don’t originate in bags at the grocery store and that pumpkins are actually big vegetables and not just a fun Halloween symbol are lessons absorbed while experiencing this exciting fall outing.
Here's a challenge...After the trip, try extending the learning with a study about apples and/or pumpkins that includes a story, craft, math lesson, cooking, and taste testing activity. This is a great first step to start incorporating Farm to ECE into your curriculum.
To find a nearby orchard or pumpkin patch, try searching this directory.
Here is a list of fall-themed Farm to ECE children’s books:
Apples by Jacqueline Farmer
Applesauce Day by Lisa Amstutz
Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson
Pumpkin Circle, The Story of a Garden by George Levenson
Patty's Pumpkin Patch by Teri Sloat
Apple Cider-Making Days by Ann Purnell
The Apple Pie That Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson
Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington
Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz
Johnny Appleseed by Reeve Lindbergh
Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell
Apple Countdown by Joan Holub
Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano
Picking Apples and Pumpkins by Amy Hutchings