What is the Survey of resources?
The Survey of resources is a very thorough review of existing resources of appropriate content about engaging Children in Permaculture. It reviews 316 resources, including resources explicitly about engaging children in permaculture as well as resources relevant to that field.
Who is it for?
Educators of children aged 3-12 years, such as parents, forest school leaders, primary school teachers, kindergarten teachers and others. The report gives details on which resources are the most relevant for sharing permaculture with children, from books, websites, lesson plans and more. They will be able to use the resources referenced and with clear indexing stating to whom each resource will be relevant, this will be beneficial to firstly the educators, and secondly the children who they work with.
“Permaculture is the use of systems thinking and design principles that provide the organising framework for... creating consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs.” (Holmgren, 2002, pxix).
Permaculture is usually taught to adults in a permaculture design course, yet in order to create a truly permanent culture, the opportunity to learn permaculture skills should be available from an early age. The problem is that children are not normally included in permaculture education or permaculture education discourse, and there are not many resources explicitly about sharing permaculture with children. Those that do exist do not address every area of permaculture.
Hence the Children in Permaculture project was initiated to identify relevant resources and the gaps in knowledge, and to create resources to support educators in their work with children in permaculture. The first step was to create a Children in Permaculture curriculum by adapting a standard Permaculture Design Course (PDC) curriculum for adults. The broad range of topics which can be taught on a PDC were collated into six broad themes to give a coherent structure to our work and resources. These themes are: Introducing Permaculture, Living Nature, Designing, Growing Food, Built Environment and Resource Use, and Social Permaculture. We identified 316 resources (books, films, websites, lesson plans etc) in 5 languages about the field of children in permaculture. These resources were analysed by language, theme and researcher ratings.
Findings include: There is no written pedagogy for sharing permaculture with children. There are many high quality resources in the Living Nature theme (110 resources are listed), whilst there is a dearth (with only 14) in the Design theme. There is a large difference in availability of resources between languages, with 180 resources identified in English and only 22 in Romanian. There is a great diversity in how relevant the resources are to engaging children in permaculture. There is no single resource that covers all aspects of the “Children in Permaculture” curriculum.
Educators (including kindergarten and school teachers, permaculture practitioners, and parents) who are interested in sustainable living will find this survey useful because it lists recommended resources, identifies the gaps in our collective knowledge-base and initiates discussions regarding a permaculture pedagogy with children.