When you’re 5 years old, there’s nothing better than exploring nature. And that’s the norm in Blair Wells’ kindergarten class where students sometimes even get the opportunity to visit their teacher’s farm.
By Bria Barton, Megan Parrott and Turner Harrison
May 5, 2018
When you have a teacher who also owns a farm, kindergarten can be more than just reading, writing and arithmetic – it can also be nature walks and horse rides.
Blair Wells teaches at Lake Murray Elementary in Lexington. Her farm in Gilbert is 10 miles away. But she bridges that distance, whether it’s by bringing a piece of dried wheat or honeycomb to the classroom or bringing her students to the farm.
“It’s really important that we get kids off these smartphones and iPads and teach them how to appreciate the actual world in front of them,” Wells says.
Wells, who has been teaching for 40 years, bought the 49-acre former plant nursery and peach orchard with her family a few years ago and transformed it into a farm sanctuary with horses, dogs, honey bees, and a garden.
She describes herself as a bit of a hippie and is an advocate for all things nature.
And when students show signs of needing extra help, Wells goes above the duties of a typical kindergarten teacher. With parental approval, Wells motivates students to reach their learning goals with the promise of visiting her farm.
“We’ll go for a ride on the horse, play with the dogs, or go for a nature walk and visit the pond,” Wells says.
Those who know Wells says it’s not surprising that she dedicates her personal time to helping students.
“On weekends, my mom is always either tutoring or showing a kid around the farm,” says Wells’ son, Britt.
“I was always playing outside growing up, and looking back, I think the reason for that was because of my mom,” he says. “I definitely had a cool childhood.”
Wells says she takes joy in seeing her students’ growing curiosity for nature.
“I just want them to see how beautiful this little planet can be,” she says.
Click on the photo below to take a slideshow tour with Wells around her farm.