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Another Friday afternoon brings with it the chance for pupils at MCM to grab their gardening gloves and head to Barton Farm. There’s usually plenty to harvest, and pupils waste no time in picking the juicy dark red mulberries from the trees, popping a few into their mouths to savour the sweet flavour as they work. Meanwhile, under the shaded outdoor classroom, younger pupils plant seeds into pots, noticing the insects and marvelling at the stingless bee hive.

It’s an idyllic scene and key part of the outdoor education programme at MCM. But what exactly are these children learning during their afternoon in the sunshine?  

For the youngest pupils, the farm offers a living resource making learning come alive. Watching the life cycle of plants and insects play out sparks curiosity and inspires pupils to find out more. It also paves the way for understanding how food is grown and produced. Since no pesticides are used on Barton Farm pupils learn about the differences between traditional and organic farming. 

Once pupils move into the Prep and Senior Schools they are given the chance to get more involved in activities such as planting new crops in the raised beds, improving the soil with the school’s own compost, or harvesting ripe fruit and vegetables. This hands-on approach is not only a fantastic way to teach pupils about sustainability, but also educates them on where the food they eat comes from.

Enhancing wellbeing

Pre-prep pupils are introduced to Barton Farm

From small beginnings in 2018, Barton Farm has grown and developed to include a wide variety of crops including bananas, torch ginger, turmeric, chillies and aloe vera. In between the longer growing plants, there are also rapid growth plants including long beans, radish, wing beans and mint which are regularly used in the lunchtime dishes served in the school dining halls. There are even chickens to care for and a stingless bee hive that produces honey.

All these aspects of the farm give pupils a way of discovering more about the natural world around them, but that’s not all. Research has shown that getting out into nature is a key component in boosting mood and enhancing mental wellbeing. As pupils plant and dig they are getting both physical exercise and taking care of their mental health.

“The farm offers a living resource making learning come alive”

Mr Lynden Astill, Director of Co-Curriculum at MCM said, “Activities on the farm are great for all age groups. These sessions are really therapeutic and enable a few moments in nature to slow the pace of life down. The pupils develop knowledge and skills about growing various crops, which are harvested by the pupils and used in our kitchens. This also enables us to focus on sustainable and organic farming practices and is a key facet of our wider Outdoor Learning Programme – fresh bananas, anyone?”

Find out more about Barton Farm and the outdoor education programme at Marlborough College Malaysia at www.marlboroughcollegemalaysia.org or email admissions@marlboroughcollege.my. 



Marlborough College Malaysia
 Jalan Marlborough, Iskandar Puteri, Johor 79200 Malaysia

 +60 7 560 2200
 Marlborough College Malaysia
 Marlborough College Malaysia