I just wanted to reach out. I'm trying to connect with others who are interested in infusing permaculture ethics and design thinking into learning for young children.
I am a stay-at-home mom who homeschools two young kids, in addition to a permaculture enthusiast and practitioner on my own homestead. Prior to my current place in life, I was a teacher having working with preschool through upper elementary children in public and private schools in the US, as well as overseas. Over the last few years being home with my children, I have come to realize that permaculture design methodology and ethics are critical foundational components to how my children learn, not just what they learn.
For me, the empowerment of what permaculture really does for young children on an individual, family, and community level isn't about teaching them how to do permaculture in the landscape (like designing a PDC for kids or something), but rather inspiring children's natural curiosities and passions and integrating learning and life using the ethical design methodology of permaculture thinking. It is about helping children approach learning in any area and life in general from a playful, solutions-based approach.
I decided about 6 months ago to just start talking about these ideas and to reach out to others who have or are working with young children. As a result, there are now many voices and I'm facilitating and learning with a community of like-minded "educators," which includes parents, teachers, mentors, community organizations, and, notably, the children. This diverse group of educators have stepped forward to take responsibility together to design an educational framework, grounded in permaculture ethics, principles, and methodology. We have started to come together to form a collaborative community and we share, collaborate, and empower one another by returning our surplus of knowledge, ideas, and experiences.
By the way, I say framework because this effort isn't a curriculum. Much of the time, a curriculum is put together for kids, but not for your kid. A curriculum written by someone else fits the people, place, and time of the developer, but this may not a fit for you, your child, your place, or your time. It is sort of like taking a great technique like an herb spiral and including it in every design everywhere. Just as the limits of design in a landscape are based on the creative limits of the designer, so to are the limits of educational design. There is and should be thousands upon thousands of ways to educate young children designed by thousands of "educators." Each voice is valuable and has something to share that we can learn from and incorporate into our own educational design for our children. I try to help the adult educators learn how to use patterned, systems thinking methodology to design an educational plan with their children/students rather than for their children. It is a completely different mindset than that found in traditional education, alternative education, most homeschooling, and even unschooling methodology because it requires people to think of young children as beings with intrinsic worth and to elongate the edges of learning and life. Yet, this framework and approach to education design can be applied to all of those and countless other ways of educating.
Ultimately, what this community does is help each other as educators to learn how to help our children self-empower through the patterned, systems thinking of permaculture. All of a sudden, the light bulb goes on as learning in all subject area becomes integrated into passions and projects initiated by our children. Our children may grow to share a passion with permaculture in the landscape or they may not. They may take permaculture thinking into what would seem to be an unrelated field and transform thinking and lives as a result. In either case, a child can live a life aligned with the ethics and methodology of permaculture and can become more than an individual who can see to his or her own needs, but rather an individual who takes responsibility and becomes self-empowered and self-realized. It is that person (child or adult) who is then in a place where they can not only care for themselves, but others and the Earth.
I should have probably reached out to this community a long time ago, but I have found my way here now and I would just like to ask, "Who else is interested in bringing permaculture design thinking into the lives of young children (approx ages 0-12)?"
In addition to adding to this thread, please don't hesitate to email me directly at email@example.com