A Week-long Immersive learning Experience

The Permaculture for Educators in Schools & Communities Course isn't like any other course. First offered in 2011, we’ve continually picked the best of the best to offer a well-rounded offering that builds on a foundational understanding of permaculture and ‘nature as teacher’ to address educator needs and learning edges.

This training is a professional and personal development opportunity designed for teachers mentors and educators of children ranging in age from early childhood to high school who desire to explore how education reform intersects with the environmental & social movements.  Is this a training for garden educators? Yes. Classroom teachers? Yes. Aides and resource staff? Yes. Homeschool parents? Yes. Mentors and youth program leaders? Yes.

Through widening our permaculture lens, this training offers relevancy and applicability across educational modalities and age groups. You might learn techniques for putting on a nature-made puppet show suited for young children and also realize the vast supply cabinet that nature provides and recognize the value of sensory-engaging stories for communicating lessons that will be remembered.

Addressing multiple intelligences, recognizing learning differences and teaching to the whole child are among the foundational concepts explored within this course. With the educational facilities and gardens of Jean’s Farm as our expanded classroom, participants dive fully into awakening their senses in order to become prepared to awaken that of their students.

Though we tend to have higher numbers of teachers in the younger grades, we almost always have high school level attendees. Content is presented conceptually and experientially in ways that can scale in either direction, but that are designed to inspire each teacher to imagine how to apply the learning to whatever age group they are teaching. Time is given for grade level discussions, guest speakers who represent a range of ages, and mentorship for individuals as they create their final project based on their specific site and age group.  

The course runs six full days (Monday through Saturday) from 8:45 to 5pm each day, with an introductory evening the Sunday before (5pm-8pm).  There is an Introduction to Permaculture weekend (8:45am-4pm) the Saturday and Sunday leading up to the course for those participants without prior permaculture certification or comparable 12-hour intro to permaculture coursework.

Through learning about permaculture ethics, principles and methods as they relate to school, classroom, community, curriculum and teaching design, this course illuminates ways that permaculture can be applied to all aspects of teaching and weaves best practices of both implicit and explicit methods as essential elements of your teaching design. 

Scroll down for more information and for THREE registration options- 1) the Educator's Course *only*, 2) the Educator's Course + Intro Course, and 3) Educator's course for CEC's/PDU's (this option will require that you follow the link to also register and pay through Portland Community College). Please read ALL information on this page before completing the registration process. 

Each day includes interactive lectures, activities and workshops applicable to teaching all ages. Over the years, we have developed a customized, mentorship model of learning, so that no matter how much background in permaculture and/or teaching an individual brings to this course, their knowledge will deepen. In fact, we have had course participants return to deepen what they learned the first time.

The course is experiential, modeling a diversity of teaching techniques while covering the following topics:

  • Application of PC Principles to Teaching

  • Nature Skills, Crafts & Activities

  • Movement & Games as a Foundation for Learning

  • Child Development & Classroom Management

  • Customized Curriculum Development

  • The Basics of Site Design for Outdoor Learning Spaces

  • Learning Styles, Diversity and Social Justice

  • Forest & Garden-Based Learning

  • Therapeutic Storytelling

This course illuminates ways that permaculture can be applied to all aspects of teaching, utilizing best practices of both implicit and explicit permaculture methods as essential elements of your teaching design. This course is very hands-on, and addresses equity and justice throughout. We teach to many different learning styles as a model for doing so with children. Each day begins with a morning activity geared toward different age groups, followed by interactive lectures, activities and workshops.

There is a final project due at the end of this course. Participants need to be prepared to work outside of class in order to complete this assignment, which is customized to support work that you will already need to do in preparation for the upcoming school year. You will receive instructor and peer evaluations and will be issued a certificate of completion by the Institute of Permaculture Education for Children when the assignment is completed.

This course schedule has been carefully designed to support the needs of the participants. We therefore require that all participants attend the course in its entirety. Unless an exception (extenuating circumstances only) is approved by the teachers in advance of the start of the training, we will not issue certificates to anyone that comes late or leaves early. If you are flying in from out of town to take this course, please schedule flights and ground transportation that arrive with plenty of time to settle into your housing AND to arrive on time to the orientation evening. Please do not schedule a departing flight any earlier than 7pm on the last day of the course (Saturday). The last day of the course is the final project presentation and attendance is required.