Statement on Agriculture
NSW K–6 syllabuses provide a range of opportunities to develop students’ understandings of Food and Fibre production and Agriculture in Australia.
This advice about teaching agriculture is organised into NSW Primary School Stages of Learning and subdivided into Learning Areas, with suggested activities and links to online resources.
Curriculum Structure K–6
The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) sets the learning requirements for each stage of primary school. The four stages are:
NESA mandatory curriculum requirements provide all NSW students with the same guarantee in terms of access to learning opportunities.
All primary students engage in learning in each of the K–6 Key Learning Areas (KLAs):
- Science and Technology
- Creative Arts
- Physical Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)
- Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE), including History and Geography
K–6 Curriculum Overview
Teaching about agriculture in NSW is specifically referred to in a range of K–6 syllabus documents.
The English syllabus allows for primary teachers to develop integrated units of work that may emphasise areas of focus, such as sustainability, and the application of science in agriculture. The support document Suggested texts for the English K–10 Syllabus provides examples of texts that specifically relate to food and those based in rural settings.
The Mathematics K–6 syllabus includes examples of applying mathematical concepts in a farming context. An example of this is:
Multiplication and Division Stage 1
- explore the use of repeated addition to count in practical situations, eg counting stock on a farm
- recognise practical examples of arrays, such as seedling trays or vegetable gardens.
Science and Technology
The Science K –10 syllabus (incorporating Science and Technology K–6) contains multiple references to the study of agriculture. Some examples appear below.
The Science and Technology K–6 Rationale:
'The study of Technology involves solving real problems and creating ideas and solutions in response to needs and opportunities in a range of technological contexts. These contexts may include agriculture, engineering, food, graphics, industrial and digital technologies as well as product design that uses metals, textiles and timber'.
Natural Environment – Early Stage 1:
Living things have basic needs, including food and water. Students:
- describe what plants and animals, including humans, need to stay alive and healthy, eg food, water and air
- identify the needs of a variety of living things in a range of situations, eg pets at home, plants in the garden or plants and animals in bushland and/or on farms.
Living World – Stage 1:
Living things live in different places where their needs are met. Students:
- observe the different places in a local land or aquatic environment where living things can be found, eg a schoolyard, pond, beach or bush
- explore the needs of a plant or an animal in its environment
- describe how some different places in a local land or aquatic environment provide for the needs of the animals or plants that live there
- observe and record ways people use science knowledge and skills in their daily lives to care for living things, such as gardeners, farmers or pet carers.
Built Environment – Stage 1:
The purposes of places and spaces in the local environment influence their design. Students:
- explore a range of places and spaces in the local environment and describe their different purposes, eg a hospital or playground
- describe how the different purposes of places and spaces in the local environment influence their design, eg storage and cooling areas in a supermarket and enclosures for pets and farm animals.
In K–6 Science and Technology integrated units can be developed that support the integration of agriculture education. An Early Stage 1 sample unit of work 'From Paddock to Plate' is available.
The History syllabus has Stage 3 content which is also relevant and asks teacher to explore the impact of a significant development or event on a colony; for example, frontier conflict, the gold rushes, the Eureka Stockade, internal exploration, the advent of rail, the expansion of farming and drought.
Agriculture can also be used as a theme for the teaching of a broad range of content from all syllabuses and in all stages of the NSW Primary curriculum. Examples of resources listed below are provided as an aid to teaching about agriculture, plants and animals.
In developing and delivering teaching programs relevant guidelines and directives of education authorities and/or schools should be followed. Teaching programs should recognise and reflect relevant State and Commonwealth legislation and conventions including Work Health and Safety, Chemical Safety in Schools and Schools Animal Care and Ethics guidelines. Teachers need to be aware of activities that may require notification, certification, permission, permits and/or licences.
Teachers should also be aware that students may have food allergies that can result in anaphylaxis, a severe and sometimes sudden allergic reaction which is potentially life-threatening and always requires an emergency response. This is an important consideration in selecting foods to be handled and/or consumed.