More than a third of children have never heard a cow moo

Running through a field an 'unknown experience' for many pupils, says Country Trust charity

Mark Smulian

Cows

Many children have so little experience of rural areas that they have never heard a cow moo or met a farmer, the Country Trust charity has said.

The trust, which offers a programme to introduce children to the countryside, said its report evaluation report for 2017-18 showed 38 per cent of children had not heard live mooing or run through a farm field.


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Country Trust offers around 20,000 children each year day visits to real working farms through its Farm Discovery programme, residential stays through the Countryside Discovery programme and opportunities to learn about food in Food Discovery.

Chief executive Jill Attenborough said: “Hearing a cow moo or running through a field might seem like the simplest of pleasures, but for some children, they are completely unknown experiences.

“And yet with rising rates of obesity and mental health problems amongst children, it has never been more important for the next generation to understand where their food comes from, the beauty of our countryside and our responsibility to the environment.”

The charity’s report said children taken on countryside visits had more opportunities to develop and display non-cognitive skills, and teachers were increasingly seeing the wider potential of the countryside as a learning resource.

It said for many children a Country Trust visit was a rare opportunity to discover the world beyond their immediate community, see how our food is produced, get close to animals and learn about machinery,

The trust said teachers had told it that children’s behaviour was often markedly different when on farms

Clare Vesey of Claremont Primary School, Manchester, said: "Some of the children don't often speak. One, in particular, has a stammer and won't talk. Today he has been so full of questions it's so lovely to see."

One pupil at Mile Cross Primary School, Norwich told the trust: “I thought soil was just dirt. I didn’t realise it was important.”

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Mark Smulian

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