School is closed nationwide, but for some children the outdoors is a classroom these vacations as they ditch screens to learn survival skills.
- Terra Tribe Farm students learn to build bows, arrows, rafts and shelters
- School vacation programs are held on 12.5 acres of land on the River Burrum near Howard
- In addition to learning survival skills, children learn to live sustainably
Terra Tribe Farm near Howard on Queensland’s Fraser Coast teaches children about permaculture, nature and sustainability as part of its outdoor programs during school vacations.
The farm, on 12.5 acres of land on the Burrum River, was purchased by Elizabeth Pohlmann in 2019.
She says the programs give children the opportunity to learn while having fun.
“This is how I lived my childhood. I spent a lot of time in the bush,” said Ms Pohlmann.
“We run school vacation and forest protection programs – we’re a connecting with nature program where kids can get out, play with kids and learn survival skills.
“We make bows and arrows and rafts, we light fires and we make shelters.
“The kids have all these materials, pallets, lumber, hammers and nails. They can build whatever they want here.
“They can climb trees, they can take risks, they can play in the dam… [do] things they can no longer experience in cities.
“These are skills that kids need, and they do so well here.”
Light fires, tie knots and catch tadpoles
In addition to survival skills, Ms. Pohlmann teaches her students about permaculture.
“There are nine people on the property and I grow all of our vegetables,” she said.
“In terms of animals, we have pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks and geese.
“We had baby piglets yesterday and we were all able to pet one this morning.”
Agricultural student Saskia Heard said he has been on the programs for a year.
“It’s fun to play a game on iPad, but it’s also important to socialize with nature,” he said.
“We just went up the slide and now we’re doing Christmas crafts.
“I also like to fish for tadpoles out of the dam.”
Karma Kereopa said her daughter, who participates in school vacation programs, is learning to be more competent outdoors.
“What kind of a world would it be if my child didn’t know how to do these things?”
“For me, it’s a part of childhood.”