Ohio Farm Turned Classroom


Old-fashioned farm tour meets current curriculum standards

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler.

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Niederman Family Farm meets many of Ohio’s common core requirements for grades K-6.

Agriculture used to be an American way of life, something you just knew. Today, it’s something taught, but not in the traditional sense or classroom – at least not on Niederman Family Farm. Perhaps Southwest Ohio’s largest classroom, this farm opens its 210 acres to busloads of school children every spring and fall so they can learn about a lifestyle all but forgotten, yet still critical to our local and national economy.

Unfortunately, many farming communities have been overrun by suburban sprawl. Niederman Farm is one of the holdouts found between Cincinnati and Dayton. The massive loss of farms across the Midwest has left generations of children removed from the seeds that sowed America since its birth. But the Niederman family is changing that one group at a time.

“We run a working farm and use Agritourism to bring a unique educational opportunity to kids in an entertaining way,” said Bethann Niederman of Niederman Family Farm.

Science and Social Studies are two of the main ingredients the Niedermans work into the educational mix. Science is learned through daily and seasonal changes while food grows and is harvested. It covers the physical and behavioral traits of living things and the need for food, water and shelter.

“The kids flip out over Bessie!” said Brian Garver, Manager at Niederman Family Farm. “She’s a mechanical cow that kids can actually milk. They get to touch live animals in the large and small animal barns, too, as a way to teach basic needs of living things.”

But not to worry parents, every student is required to use the hand sanitizer provided at every station or classroom.

The Science Studies curriculum also features lessons on sun, energy and weather covered in the self-guided pumpkin school and the basic needs of living things.

The Social Studies curriculum covers the generations of heritage farming, food dependence and the farmer’s rainbow (“food pyramid”). Scarcity – the importance of not wasting – is also featured along with a class on production and consumption focusing on community produced goods.

“We cover a lot more than this,” said Garver. “Our web site has a comprehensive list of Common Core requirements we meet shown under the farm tours section.”

Spring and fall are also ideal seasons to get kids out of the classroom to an outdoor setting that still serves as an educational classroom. Both spring and fall tours are currently booking at Niederman Family Farm. To learn more, email niederman@fuse.net.

When the new farmhands are finished with an honest day’s work and have filled their heads with newfound knowledge, a piece of the farm follows them back to their classrooms. Special teaching aids, programs and agri-learning tools prepared in traveling kits for teachers continue the lesson long after leaving Niederman Family Farm.

The Niederman family continues to adapt, educate, entertain and grow memories for school kids every year. As a farming family in its fourth generation, they have a lot of knowledge to share. Three generations of Niedermans currently live and work on the farm. They take pleasure in offering insight to today’s farms as well as a nostalgic look back at farming in America.

Niederman Family Farm is located at 5110 LeSourdesville-West Chester Road in Liberty Township, Ohio between Cincinnati and Dayton. Reservations for spring tours are required. Call 513-779-6184, email niederman@fuse.net or visit www.niedermanfamilyfarm.com.

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