A Goulburn Valley primary school has embraced Dairy Australia's Picasso Cows program as a way of motivating teachers and students to learn more about the dairy industry.
Katunga Primary School students took part in virtual farm tours, learned about milk processing, the various products that are made from milk, technology used on-farm to collect and store milk and how milking cows has changed over time, from milking by hand to innovative robotic dairies.
Students even designed their own future dairy farm.
Importantly though, students were taught how farmers produce milk ethically - taking into account how they care for their environment and their animals' welfare.
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Principal Natalie Hopcroft said students were highly engaged with the program, particularly enjoying their visit to a local dairy farm.
"Some of our students who live on dairies were fascinated that the dairy they visited was different from theirs; they went into quite long explanations about the differences," Mrs Hopcroft said.
"Another highlight was a guest speaker coming and talking about the local dairy industry.
"A lot of local knowledge was shared about where the milk goes once it leaves the dairy."
So inspired were the students that they decided to extend their learning to the school grounds, starting with the blank canvas of a fibreglass cow that they artistically decorated.
"The cow stands proudly at our front entrance every day, and the students are reminded of the work they did on the project," Mrs Hopcroft said.
"We started building a mini golf course in 2020 after playing on one during a school camp.
"The Year 6 students designed the first hole, and due to the year it was in 2020, they called the hole 'Lock Down'.
"In 2021, the Year 6 students were asked once again to design a new hole, and they chose a dairy theme due to the Picasso Cow project work completed during the year.
"Each Year 6 child was given the task of designing what they thought the hole should look like, and then it was constructed."
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The school will extend the golf course following a successful grant through the Victorian government's Active Schools program.
"We are fortunate to build four holes this year, each with a different theme," Mrs Hopccroft said.
"Each of our four classes voted on a theme and ran a competition to design the hole.
"These will be completed by the end of the year."
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