San Antonio preschool brings learning outside with garden and farm animals on campus

The Lilypad Farm School students spend a lot of time learning about nature

SAN ANTONIO – From goats, baby bulls and chickens to a garden that cultivates food by the seasons, The Lilypad Farm School emphasizes learning outside with nature.

The school’s owner Lilly Arguello says there are about 250 students from infant age to six years old, who don’t just learn inside the classroom but spend a lot of time either learning to plant seeds in the garden or feeding farm animals.

“Nature is part of our world,” Arguello said. “Without that, none of us would be here. So it’s really important for kids to come down to the basics and learn how to grow food. Learn how to care for animals and be self-sustainable.”

The Lilypad Farm school has two campuses — the garden school for infants to three-year-olds and the farm school for children three-to-six years old. The school opened 11 years ago and the preschool features expansive gardens at both campuses where students learn to grow all organic, seasonal fruits and vegetables which students help plant, water and harvest.

On the farm, there are about a dozen large animals including a horse, donkey and baby bull named Tippy, and about 25 smaller animals including chickens and rabbits.

“The farm animals have such a vital component and success with the crops and there is so much learning experience that goes into the farm animals themselves,” Arguello said.

Six-year-old Camden Simpkins says he loves feeding the animals especially when the pig Wilbert visits the farm. He said it’s the loudest animal.

“The Wilbert is,” Simpkins said making snorting noises.

Today’s garden activity included tilling the soil and planting for the spring. Three-year-old Vivienne Trevino said she likes watching the plants grow big.

“You use soil for the tomatoes,” Trevino explained while filling mini pods with soil.

But for six-year-old Elliana Chavarin, the animals are the main reason she loves her school.

“That we get to learn and see the animals,” Elliana said.

About the Author

Sarah Acosta is a weekend Good Morning San Antonio anchor and a general assignments reporter at KSAT12. She joined the news team in April 2018 as a morning reporter for GMSA and is a native South Texan.

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