Farm Theme Boosts Enrollment in Rural Kansas School

from The first clue is a sign “Fresh Eggs for Sale” in front of the school. There is a sheep pen on the baseball field and the sounds of farm animals greet pupils every morning.

This is not your ordinary elementary school. It is the Walton Rural Life Center, a kindergarten-through-fourth grade charter school in rural Kansas that uses agriculture to teach students about math, science, economics – and responsibility.

The farm theme is so popular that the center has a waiting list to enroll and has given the town of Walton, population 235, a boost, said Mayor Evan Johnson.

“It’s been a priority for us and a source of pride,” Johnson said.

Students take turns each week feeding chickens, sheep, pigs and cattle. They wash and sell the eggs, make yarn from sheep wool and raise pigs for market – with pork coming back to the school for meals. They also raise vegetables for school snacks.

“The kids love it, and they are learning,” said Principal Natise Vogt, pointing to better test scores as one example.

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