The Pfisterer Farm School is geared for students between kindergarten and third grade
By Diego Flammini
A member of Ontario’s ag community has put together a series of videos teachers can use as classroom materials.
Jessica Pfisterer, who raises beef cattle, pork, chicken and eggs on 100 acres of land in Wellington County with her husband Ryan and young son Boone, started the Pfisterer Farm School after speaking with educators and parents of elementary students between kindergarten and third grade.
“We heard about the struggles of online learning and how difficult it is to keep those kids engaged for longer than a minute,” she told Farms.com. “I thought, we have all this content at the farm, so why not share it online? One of our values at the farm is to make it available to the public so this is a nice intersection of that and helping out teachers and students.”
The online school currently has 11 videos available on demand for free.
Video topics range from learning the difference between hay and straw, tractor demonstrations and animal videos.
And the videos are more than just content for students to watch.
The Pfisterers consulted with an educator and tied the videos directly to the Ontario curriculum for first, second and third grade students.
“We didn’t want this to be just another YouTube channel,” she said. “We wanted this to have real value where a teacher can build a lesson around these videos and check a lesson off of their lists.”
Teachers can also submit up to five questions to Jessica and Ryan, who try to respond within seven days through video messages.
Early feedback has been positive.
Teachers are finding the students are engaged while the videos play and are curious about farms.
“We’ve been pleased to hear the kids really like the animal videos and seem to be hanging onto every word,” Pfisterer said. “If they can get even one little nugget out of the video that stays with them, that’s a big win for us.”
The pandemic has brought about a focus on local food and how food is produced.
Farmers should take this opportunity to tell their stories and to engage with the public about food production while it’s at top of mind, Pfisterer said.
“The onus is on us as farmers to share all the hard work that goes into producing great food,” she said. “We should use this time to position ourselves as better than what you might be getting at the grocery store. I think there’s a lot of value in knowing your farmer and we should want to know our customers.”
Jessica Pfisterer photo