The Clubhouse Farm began in 2012 to offer the children in our programs access to wide open outdoor spaces and freshly harvested produce. Soon after, we received the British Columbia Child Care Award of Excellence in Innovation. Spending time outdoors playing, getting active, and relaxing in nature have been scientifically shown to benefit children in many ways. From stress reduction and improving concentration, to developing imagination, social skills, risk assessment and problem solving skills, spending time outside benefits every child’s health and wellbeing.
Our Farm is located on Agricultural Land Reserve, and we maintain our farm status through the production and sales of herbs, fruit, veggies, and eggs. Clubhouse Daycare, Preschool and School Age children take the bus to the Clubhouse Farm where they can be part of planting, harvesting and preparing food, giving them the opportunity to learn where food comes from, and to connect with the land.
Teachers noticed children coming back to their programs with fresh produce, and asked if they could bring their classes too; and the Clubhouse Farm School Trips began. School groups can book a visit to participate in seasonal activities. Programs include gardening, plant identification, harvesting wild foods, baking, chicken care, and composting.
Understanding where our food comes from and how we can be a part of making healthy foods is vital – a healthy body and a healthy environment come hand in hand. Supported by our interdisciplinary and hardworking team, we have documented successes in both the field of education and child care. From therapeutic benefits for children, to offering an interactive learning platform, to growing local food while supporting biodiversity and habitat restoration, this model supports many elements for sustainable community development.
The outdoors provides opportunities for incidental learning, and an optimum platform for cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. Free play outside improves risk analysis, observation skills, academic performance, and most importantly: lowers stress and connects children to the natural world. Our curriculum and Position Statement on Outdoor Play are based on a growing body of research from around the world.
The outdoors offers ideal spaces for curriculum delivery. Many lessons done inside can be done outside, often with broader benefits. Space and diverse context allows for many hands-on activities, and copious opportunities for redirection when necessary, reducing conflict and helping children build resilience, self-regulation, and lasting relationships.