Welcome to the Children in Permaculture project!

Dear friends and supporters of the Children in Permaculture Project,

It is with great joy and gratitude to share with you the news that the Children in Permaculture Project has officially received funding from Erasmus +. The seeds of a dream that were planted 3 years ago are finally sprouting and it is happening with a wonderful team. What was the initial dream and how did it all start?

Let me take you back to the autumn of September 2012…

As one of the representatives of the Finnish team of the Erasmus funded EPT Project (European Permaculture Teacher Partnership) I had attended the meeting in Slovenia in 2012. One of the main aims of EPT was increasing the quality of teaching permaculture. I had noticed however, that children were not being mentioned neither the importance of their inclusion. When I raised the subject I was told that the Project’s focus was on adults… After a couple of days of pondering on this I decided to share my thoughts. In a circle I asked people to crouch down. “As designers, whether we design a farm, house school or any setting we need to take into consideration the little people, the children and include their needs in our designs. We need to look around us from this perspective as well, from the children’s eyes.”

For me, they are the ones that would inspire us and I found it important to have them included. I proposed a group working “alongside” the EPT project, a group that would get together in each of our meetings inviting people on a national and international level. Thus the name “Children in Permaculture” was born in Slovenia and our group met in the meetings to raise awareness of including children.

The reason why Slovenia is a special place for me is also because of Jožica Fabian, a pioneer who had been teaching Permaculture to teachers of kindergartens and schools for over 20 years. It was at the Slovenian convergence that we first met right after the EPT. We were sitting face to face in a circle about “connecting”, talking to our ancestors about the past and pondering about the future. Jožica had said: “Gaye I feel that we have met before” and we both had tears in our eyes. We both shared our passion about children and I told her about my dream of creating a network of people who had been working with Children and Permaculture. I had told her that instead of re-inventing the wheel it would be amazing to share what was already there. She had said with a bit of broken English.. “I see, one day you be like the mama and create European PC network for children”. She was the one who first foresaw it and had supported me wholeheartedly. I would like to express my gratitude Jožica for your inspiration and the wonderful work you have done in this field. Thank you…

As the slogan for the SEED organisation of Africa goes: “It takes a seed to make a forest”. Many special thanks to those who valued the seed and helped bring the dream to life: Rakesh Rootsman, Lusi Alderslowe, Martina Petru, Tomislav Gjerkes, Lara Kastelic, Eva Dumitrescu, Valentina Cifarelli, Didi (Amurtel Romania), Ionut Badica, Tereza Velehradska, Domen Zupan, Ira Zorko, Steve Hart, Joe Atkinson, Sandra Campe, Andy Goldring, Carolyn Nuttall and Janet Millington.

The dream is for all to share, so welcome to be the growing network of Children in Permaculture, our beautiful forest.

Gaye Amus

(On behalf of the Children in Permaculture team)

Note of the editors

Welcome all to the new web site of the European Children in Permaculture project. It’s our real pleasure to In this first issues we would like to reach out, inform you what are we about, who are we and because we many of you are doing wonderful work with children in permaculture, we’d like you to feel invited to connect with us, share your work and experiences and provide a platform in the next issues of the newsletter for you as well: inform of stories you’d like to share, promotion of events and workshops or other information relevant to our project. Please feel free to contact us from now on for the second newsletter issue with your contributions on the following e-mail(s):

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Eva Dumitrescu and Martina Petru

About Children in Permaculture

Permaculture is our future, and so are our children.

‘Children in Permaculture’ (CiP) is an initiative that explores how to engage children and teach them the values and principles of permaculture from a young age.

We are an enthusiastic and dedicated team, some of us have already worked together and some have never met before, and yet we have found over the last year developing this project, how well we work together.

A true East to West Ensemble: from Romania, Slovenia, Italy and Czech Republic, to the UK, which is the overarching organization. Our partner organizations include NGOs, a state school, a kindergarten & after-school centre to make up the diversity which surely will blossom and bring quality fruits to the education table.

The long term benefits of our work include strengthening the education & training paths of educators, providing high quality learning opportunities to educators and children, enhancing the quality of early childhood education and care, increasing fresh air and exercise, healthier eating, deepened understanding of ecology & natural science through direct experience with it, stimulating all of the multiple intelligences, deeper connection to and understanding of nature and nature’s patterns and systems, greater awareness of different people, including their cultures and traditions, improved knowledge and skills to act in ways which promote care for selves and other people, contributing to a healthy society, better understanding of the environmental consequences of one’s actions, and improving physical and mental health.

Through this project we will be moving towards a future in which all humans are living in harmony with each other and nature, and all children can access an education based upon the ethics of earth care, people care and fair share.

How are we organized: sociocracy

Since the beginning of the project, before writing the funding bid, we wanted to have clarity on how we will work together. We decided to use sociocracy which is a governance and decision-making method based on the principles of transparency, equivalency, and effectiveness. Sociocratic governance builds on the values and experience of democracy and the scientific discoveries of the twentieth century to create an even more participatory and inclusive system.

At our first face to face meeting in November 2014 we first had a two day training in sociocracy and for the next 3 days we were directly using the method to decide on the ideas and concepts that we wanted to build our project around.

Our experience with Sociocracy is very positive. It helped us to:

create proposals that everybody can consent to

keep track of the decisions made

choose the best people available to fulfill tasks and roles

be clear on who is working on what

organise meetings

integrate feedback into the process.

It takes time to learn sociocracy, really understand it and use it properly and we are looking forward to keep learning and improving!

What are our goals/planned outputs

The CiP partners will work towards improving the education of children in formal, non-formal and informal learning, developing resources which will enable school and kindergarten teachers, leaders, parents and other educators to engage in a wholesome, sustainable education with the children they are working with.

We will work hard towards:

1. identifying, developing and testing CiP quality resources (curricula, lesson plans, activities and other resources) for children aged 3-12 years.

2. improving competences and skills in outdoor permaculture education, intercultural awareness and sustainability school and kindergarten teachers/assistants.

3. engaging children aged 3-6 years and 7-12 years in the 5 countries in opportunities to learn about the environment, climate change and sustainability.

4. consolidating and disseminating the CiP best practices to educators in the 5 partner countries and to educators throughout the EU (and the rest of the world) with freely available online resources.

5. establishing a European Children in Permaculture Network with as many educators as possible throughout Europe. High quality resources and a strong international community of educators will support the spreading and evolving of the knowledge and skills beyond the initial funding.

Yes, we will create a website and host all the resources for access, including research papers that will be freely available online.

Photographs, short videos, and stories of experiences of sharing permaculture with children will be published in case studies.

And, we will create a short film to enthuse and motivate others to follow our examples.

How can you engage?

We are looking for contributions for the next newsletter about your projects and initiatives with children in permaculture around the world! Please feel free to send them our way for the next newsletter that will be out in the begining of March.

Join us for the Carolyn Nuttal and Janet Millington teacher’s training in Slovenia. Plan to organize a training with them in your own country/within your project.

You can learn about the project on our website www.childreninpermaculture.com and for quick communications and your involvement see our facebook group: Children in Permaculture.