We focus on giving children time and space to reflect, renew and determine a new path for themselves. We do this by creating an environment where they feel respected, and are given opportunities to display their talents and show responsibility.
Jamie’s Farm hosts week-long school visits throughout the year, with each group consisting of approximately 10-12 students, aged 11-16. These small groups live and work on site, supported by our experienced staff who focus activities on positive, tangible outcomes. As a result of the Jamie’s Farm experience, young people demonstrate improved relationships, behaviour and engagement with school. On return to school, visits are followed up with group sessions including a celebration attended by Jamie’s Farm staff to transfer the experience to young people’s everyday lives at home and school.
Through the ‘Family’ strand of our work, children share in each other’s successes and learn how to live in a cooperative group. They are given a loving and firm framework that enables them to succeed in challenging jobs, and a reference point of what a healthy, supportive family can look like.
At Jamie’s Farm staff and children live together, and learn to respect each other and the home in which they live. Everyone contributes to the functions of the family household.
A daily extended walk provides children with exercise and a sense of adventure as they discover the countryside. This is rewarding, as children frequently exceed their expectations of themselves.
Children also contribute by preparing meals with our trained staff. Much of our food is home grown or locally sourced. The adults and children always eat together around the table, and everyone helps to clean up afterwards.
“I feel calmer in my family now. Also, I know how hard my mum’s always working so I try and help her out.”
Low self-esteem is often a key trigger for students’ negative attitudes or behaviour. Visiting children are vital to the running of our farm, and involving them in farming responsibilities provides them with enormous satisfaction and pride. Nurturing animals allow pupils to show their more caring sides.
Jamie’s Farm runs a traditional livestock farm. We rear pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle, Suffolk sheep, Saddleback pigs and chickens. Horses, dogs and cats are also a part of farm life. Interacting with the animals and being involved in their feedings and care encourages nurture, confidence, a sense of responsibility and achievement.
Children help to grow seasonal fruit and vegetables in our large vegetable garden, which is a valuable contribution to meal preparation. This
allows young people to get a sense of the food cycle, and how putting effort into growing and harvesting food can lead to delicious produce.
Children may visit neighbouring dairy and sheep farms, or the livestock market. This helps children to understand the social context of farming and develop trusting relationships with a range of adults.
“Being at Jamie’s Farm was the best week of my entire life. Being at Jamie’s Farm built my confidence by working with animals, especially letting PIGS bite my WELLIES”
Children are supported by therapeutically trained staff to see themselves differently and to understand better their strengths and weaknesses. Staff accompanying children to the farm have the opportunity to learn from our experienced staff which builds capacity in the education system.
Daily group work encourages children to interact appropriately with one another. According to the needs of the groups, children can set goals, and give and receive feedback.
Jamie’s Farm has a high staff to student ratio to create strong relationships and an intimate, trusting culture. One-to-one activities with our trained staff allows children to reflect and to vocalise, rather than act out, their challenges.
Working with these large, powerful, but sensitive animals allows children to confront their own parallel issues of fear, trust and attunement.
It also affords them the opportunity to form leadership roles and vocalise their own difficulties of dealing with power and control.
At Jamie’s Farm we encourage children to express themselves creatively through art, music and drama. We provide reflective, calm spaces for children to engage with creative tasks and informally share their thinking about life and home.