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Welcome to the Farm, Chief

“This story is dedicated to those creating spaces where all feel welcomed, loved, and affirmed.”

Welcome to the Farm, Chief by Sarah Bowers, Illustrated by Alexandria Holly

Welcome to the Farm, Chief is a story, based on true events, of a young livestock guardian puppy on a search to find his place and purpose on the farm. This story takes place at Bowers Farm, “a multi-species livestock farm located in Pomaria, South Carolina that uses regenerative farming practices to care for the land they have been entrusted with.” Bowers Farm is owned and operated by our dear friends, Sarah and Brandon. Knowing them and spending time at their farm has been one of my greatest joys since moving to South Carolina!

What can we learn from Chief?


The ability to stick with something, meet challenges and push ahead in order to either reach our goals, or learn and grow. Identifying and following your own interests/path is a key component of persistence and grit. Throughout this story Chief tries many different ways of being a part of the farm and even when it seems like he might give up, he is still aware and ready to help when the time comes showing he has developed his own grit!

Problem Solving

The ability to – identify problems to solve; invent solutions to that problem; and arrive at one or more solutions that work. Chief practices problem solving as he comes up with the plan to be like each animal on the farm to see where he fits. Part of problem solving is learning what to do when we fail and how to try again.


Cognitive empathy is the ability to take on another person’s perspective. Chief not only practices this throughout the book by doing what other animals do, but the reader practices cognitive empathy for Chief as we follow along in his journey to find his place on the farm.


We see this as a combination of physical, mental and emotional wellness that kids need to thrive. A large part of wellness is located in finding your identity and belonging to a community. We are all unique and have our own gifts and identity that we bring to the communities we are a part of. Just like Chief, sometimes it takes time to find our place, but we always have one.

Literacy through Vocabulary

One of my favorite parts of this book is the use of real, subject specific farm vocabulary. Vocabulary knowledge is important and research says that the more words a reader understands, the greater the likelihood they will continue to be curious and ready to learn. Using subject specific vocabulary not only helps us organize information and connect ideas, but also helps unlock important ideas and opens new pathways for language and discourse.

More Playful Learning

Join in for Farm Camp! Every June, the Bowers family hosts a few weeks of farm camp and registration opens soon! Farm camp is for kiddos who have finished K3 - 5th grade and is an amazing place to learn about the farm, how it functions and how the animals, people, and plants work together to create an ecosystem. Farm camp is for children who have a curiosity about the world around them – No farming experience or knowledge needed! Come see the farm from our story and Me as we learn together and become Farmers! Learn more and register for Farm Camp! (registration opens in Februrary)

I’d love to hear which ideas sparked play and joy with your explorers or if you have any other connections for play! Comment below or tag me in your play on Instagram @magnoliaoutoor.




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