Each guest is welcomed to visit us! Please EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org or CONTACT here or INBOX at Fellinlove Farm Facebook page OR CALL/TEXT 616-283-7555 to schedule a visit/tour/party/field trip! ***Due to other commitments (work, farm supply purchases, vet & other medical appointments, previous group reservations), our family is not always available for tours.
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Sunday 2:00-6:00 p.m. Cost: Your choice donation [$5 per guest for public events] (See SUPPORT) We have many different groups that come to visit the farm in many different ways including: ~Field trips for schools, including: Early Childhood Special Education, Head Start, state-funded preschools/GSRP, Severe Multiple Impairments classrooms, kindergarten/elementary classrooms, homeschool families, and daycare ~Toursfor: adult care center residents, individual families, young adults with unique needs ~Farm parties: donated to auction benefits for local charities (Center for Women in Transition, Renew Therapeutic Riding Center, C-Snip, Grand Rapids Early Discovery Center, YMCA, Petapalooza, GVSU COE, families in need, and others) ~Support group picnics, such as: Mended Little Hearts, Arbor Circle, Adoptive Family Support Network, others ~Seasonal open house/farm events: Easter Egg Hunt, Annual Prom for young adults with unique needs, Jasper's (horse) Birthday Party, Neighborhood Summer Celebration, Fall Fun at Fellinlove Farm, Mini Nativity Experience
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Rationale behind field trips.... I, Cheryl Kaletka, designed Fellinlove Farm to meet the needs of our family and, after graduate courses EDI and EDS 685 observations with students and interviewing them about field trip opportunities for their students, I noticed many classrooms were in need of a high quality, nature-based, farm field trips that were cost free and accommodating to a variety of needs. Some children from urban poverty to very low income backgrounds had never seen farm animals. Some children with severe needs were not accommodated at typical farm facilities. I noticed when my teachers read stories about animals or involved animals in learning activities children became highly interested. Children who needed comfort were calmed with just the presence of an animal (stuffed animal in classroom). If my student mentioned that I owned the kind of animal featured in a story, children turned to me and wanted to see a picture (of a llama or a pig or a goat or a hedgehog or ???). When I showed the picture or my student shared the farm pictures with them (from Facebook), the children’s interest peaked. Some classes were approved by administration to visit the farm.
I began to research the effects of Nature Deficit Disorder in children and noticed the symptoms of the disorder disappeared when engaged in nature-based lessons or in visiting the animals. Students mentioned the benefits in behavior and impact of learning. The Field Trips (although they are limited to mid- April to June and several in September and October due to weather) have received West Michigan media attention twice from Fox 17 News. Here is the second Fox 17 News visit available through this link. The teacher is my student (and GVSU recent M.Ed. graduate). This is her second year of visits here. We strategize and plan a unique tour for the children where her students are able to leave their wheelchairs, play directly with the animals, and enjoy pony rides from an equestrian assistant. All animals are very friendly and gentle (selected from high quality breeders, raised with respect, all males neutered) so interactions with the animals are intimate and cherished. The property includes a nature trail, ponds, creek and forest for more nature based studies (habitats, etc.), truly an outdoor classroom.
My students who visit the farm teach in these early childhood classrooms: severe multiple impairments (SXI) classrooms, hearing impairments (HI) classrooms, visual impairments (VI) classrooms, cognitive impairments (CI) classrooms, migrant Head Start classrooms, Head Start classrooms, Early Head Start classrooms, Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) classrooms, Preschool Classrooms, Kindergarten through Second Grade classrooms, Early Childhood Centers (Family Nights at the farm). 90% of teachers who visit the farm are my students. The remaining 10% know my students and have been referred.
Because of the accessibility for those in wheelchairs around the farm, I have also developed a program (4th year now) for seniors/residents from 5 different health care facilities. In late spring, we will combine an early childhood class field trip with a senior visit!