Children To Find Their Food And Potential Future Jobs In The Country Classroom

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Over 1700 children from 45 schools across the North East will gather in the Northumberland countryside near Wooler on 6th June to learn about where their food comes from at the 18th annual Children’s Countryside Day.

Nicknamed with great affection the ‘Country Classroom’, the Glendale Agricultural Society’s unique day out of school has introduced more than 27,000 school children, mostly from urban areas, to the unknown wonders of the countryside over the past 18 years.

Over the years since its inception, a growing number of children have gone on to careers in rural industries that they first encountered at the Countryside Day, and thousands more have learned to love and value the countryside in an outdoor classroom experience they never forget.

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This year, the children aged between 7 and 9, will experience hands-on where food comes from and how it is produced, with an emphasis on giving a wider understanding of the countryside, the environment and the people who work in the rural economy.

Children's Countryside Day 2023Children's Countryside Day 2023
Children's Countryside Day 2023

Finn Willcock is Headteacher of Southridge First School in Whitley Bay, the most distant of the 45 schools that will be attending. “Having been a visitor to the Glendale Children's Countryside Day for almost 20 years it has been a pleasure and a privilege to see how it has grown and developed with its aim of helping young children understand rural life in Northumberland. The passion, expertise and generosity of all involved makes it a day not to be missed and one that staff and children look forward to in equal measure."

The Glendale Children’s Countryside Day will give many of the visiting children the first opportunity in their lives to find out that milk and cheese come from cows, not simply from the supermarket, that eggs come from hens, and that bread, biscuits and cake start their journey to the kitchen table in fields of wheat and barley planted, tended and harvested by dedicated Northumberland farmers and their families.

They also discover some of the huge range of skills required to produce this food, and they can try their own hands at country crafts. They can watch the fascinating art of man and animal working as one in a working sheep dog demonstration, and they can try their own judging skills in a multi-breed Sheep Show.

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More than 70 different rural businesses representing a broad range of rural industries including livestock, forestry, game/ butchery, agricultural machinery and auctioneering, will be there to explain their part in the production not just of food but the many other essentials that come from the countryside, such as timber for housebuilding, quarried stone for the building and maintenance of the region’s roads, and green energy from wind and solar farms.

Sheep Dog DemonstrationSheep Dog Demonstration
Sheep Dog Demonstration

A vital part of the educational value of the day will focus on the role of the countryside and its guardians in safeguarding the land and its rivers and streams, the increasingly important role of the land in environmental regeneration and the vital part this plays in maintaining the quality of our food, air and water.

Although one of the smaller Agricultural Societies in the UK, the Glendale Agricultural Society led the way by developing the first Children’s Day in the country. Chair and local farmer, Robert Brown, is a passionate advocate of the power of education, and will welcome the children and their teachers to what he hopes will be the biggest and most successful Country Classroom to date.

“The great majority of children grow up in towns and cities without any connection to the countryside at all. We believe we have a responsibility to connect as many children as we can to the land and the absolutely fundamental part it plays in their lives. Understanding where your food and drink come from and why its quality matters to your nutrition helps children to understand why healthy eating matters. The Northumberland countryside is a spectacularly wonderful place to be for your physical and mental health and wellbeing too.

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“We know from nearly 20 years of experience that children of that age are fascinated by what they discover in just one day, and many go on to learn more about the countryside and to love it from that initial contact. The many stewards, exhibitors and sponsors whose dedication makes the Children’s Countryside Day possible will be looking forward enormously to meeting our young visitors, and seeing the surprise and delight we know they are going to experience.”

Butchery DemonstrationButchery Demonstration
Butchery Demonstration

Thanks to the Principal Sponsors of the Glendale Agricultural Society’s 20th Children’s Countryside Day:

  • Northumberland Estates
  • Linhope Estate
  • Lowick Hall Estate
  • The Catherine Cookson Trust
  • Simpsons Malt
  • Border Embroideries
  • Northumberland Freemasons

The CCD day has been hailed as a highlight of children’s primary school education, a memorable personal experience which most will remember for a long time. For further information about the Glendale Agricultural Society and the Children’s Countryside Day please visit www.glendaleshow.com.