As the leaves begin to change colour and the air carries a crisp, autumnal scent, it's a sure sign that the harvest season is upon us. Harvest festivals are an excellent opportunity for teachers to connect their students with nature, culture, and history.
In this article, we'll explore a range of educational resources and ideas to make your harvest festival a fun and educational experience for students.
1. Hands on learning activities
Encourage creativity by organising arts and crafts activities. Students can create autumn-themed decorations, such as harvest pictures, to develop the festive atmosphere. And why not grow your own wheat in school with these step-by-step instructions, or even attempt to create a decorative harvest loaf.
If your school has a garden, you can involve students in gardening activities related to the harvest season or set up a growing club. Planting and harvesting crops can offer valuable lessons in where food comes from.
2. Explore international traditions
Why not teach about similar celebrations in other cultures around the world? Pupils could investigate Chuseok in South Korea, or the Mid-Autumn Festival in China. Create an ‘Autumn festivals around the world’ display board to showcase these cultural celebrations. Take a look at this presentation exploring bread traditions from around the world.
3. Learn through the arts
Literature is a fantastic way to introduce the concept of harvest festivals to students. Books like ‘The Little Red Hen’ is a fun and engaging way to support reading with younger age groups, with a focus on growing food. Poems can help to bring learning to life, or you can explore the rhythmic aspects of harvest festivals by incorporating music and dance with songs such as ‘Big red combine harvester’.
4. Delicious school recipes to cook
Engage students in hands-on learning by involving them in cooking activities. Prepare simple dishes using seasonal ingredients like pumpkin, apples, or sweetcorn and discuss the nutritional benefits of these foods and their significance in harvest festivals. Discover lots of different recipes to support various skills and techniques with your students. You can also use this presentation all about seasonality. To understand more about what’s in season and why.
5. Connect with your local community
Consider organising a field trip to a local farm, orchard, or pumpkin patch. Students can experience firsthand the process of harvesting and gain an appreciation for where their food comes from. Check Countryside Classroom for places to visit. Or you can link up with the broader community by organising a harvest festival event. Invite parents, local producers, and farmers to showcase their produce, fostering a sense of community involvement.
Finally don’t forget you can take your students on a virtual journey with these short videos to study more about where and how foods are harvested or put them to the test with this quick harvest festival quiz!
Harvest festivals offer an excellent opportunity to cover range of subjects and involve students in different learning experiences at this time of year.
We would love to see your celebrations in school, so please do share on Twitter and tag us @Foodafactoflife
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