It was love at first sight for Barnesville first graders who bottle fed lambs at Shepherd's Hey Farm in Dickerson, Maryland. Students got an up-close look at life on the farm in the heart of a busy lambing season. Lee Langstaff shared her extensive knowledge about sheep, wool, and farming, and students saw how and where the sheep live and experienced some of the work that goes into their care.
“Ms. Langstaff’s love for her work and the animals is contagious,” said Linda Birtholz, Barnesville First Grade Teacher. “The kids were enamoured and didn’t want to leave.I imagine their parents will be learning a lot about where their sweaters and scarves come from in the coming days.”
During a classroom visit earlier in the week, Ms. Langstaff gave students a lesson on the sheep and wool industry. She talked about the care and feeding of sheep as well as the many uses for their wool, milk, and meat. Students handled raw and processed wool. Students learned about the process of shearing, cleaning, and dying wool and had the opportunity to twist and pull it to experience how the fiber is transformed into yarn. Ms. Langstaff also demonstrated the spinning process using a wooden spinning wheel.
Photos are on Facebook, and the students made a video about what they learned. They wrote their scripts, helped each other edit to improve the scripts, and then rehearsed. They made their own recordings, then picked out the pictures that matched their script.
The Langstaff family has been part of the Barnesville School community as students, parents, Board Members, educational partners, and friends for more than 20 years. The family’s Shepherd’s Hey Farm is home to a flock of wool sheep who are carefully bred and managed to produce hand-spinning fleeces, sheepskin pelts, wool roving and batting and yarn, and naturally raised custom butchered lamb.
Shepherd's Hey Farm strives to produce the highest quality wool and meat products while placing highest priority on the health and welfare of its animals and that of the land, water resources and local natural biodiversity. The farm and the Langstaff family support and participate in efforts to ensure a viable agricultural future in the region, and particularly in the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve.
Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences is an independent private school in Montgomery County, Maryland offering innovative preschool through 8th grade programs. Cross-curricular teaching encourages students to explore how subjects relate to one another, helping them to make connections that spark inquiry and deepen understanding. Small classes enable skilled teachers to engage each child in an academically challenging environment. Our 30-acre campus is our extended classroom, and we integrate nature into everyday learning. Barnesville is certified as a Maryland Green School by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education, demonstrating achievement in curriculum and instruction, community partnerships, and best management practices.