A little while ago, our eldest child asked us to share with her what we knew about permaculture. Her siblings shared her enthusiasm and so we began… And the seed for the Spiral Garden Seedlings program was planted. Our aim is to help families get excited about permaculture and develop some basic skills to implement permaculture principles into daily life. We provide informative, fun, and immersive activities for you to complete, as a family.
As home educators and unschoolers, we understand the importance of following your child’s inquiry and interest. The Seedlings program has been designed with the understanding that you know your family best. The activities and resources can be picked and chosen from, or tailored to suit any child’s age or development level, but most are selected with ages three to thirteen in mind. The program can be used in a variety of ways; as support for a homeschool program, as prompts for connection and exploration for an unschooling family, or for weekend, afternoon, or holiday fun for anyone!
The course does not require you to already have a deep understanding of permaculture. You don’t even need a garden of your own! We’ll cover what you need to know to run the activities and get to the heart of the subject matter with your children. If you are new to the concept of permaculture then you’re sure to learn alongside your children too! Also, you won’t be alone, because the participants of each course will have access to a private Facebook group; a space to share questions, ideas and insights as you all progress through the course.
We provide options for conversation starters, activities and resources to share with your family to help develop an understanding of permaculture, and then you can use this to build your own knowledge, skills and sense of community. Activities work to engage the head, heart and hands and span a variety of fields of interest, not just gardening, so we’re sure you’ll find something to appeal to everyone!
The course is divided into 12 sessions, following the permaculture principles, and is self-paced, allowing you to spend as long or as little on each principle as is useful to you. There’s a bonus session on the Permaculture Ethics too! Each session introduces a permaculture principle to parents and caregivers, so you can grasp the concept enough to engage your children in discussion. We then provide guiding questions and discussion prompts to work through as a family. We know that the relationship between every parent and child is unique, so you may like to alter the conversation prompts to suit you, or just launch into the activities and chat as you go! Some of the concepts covered may be intuitive to your child, so try to give them space to talk about and explore those ideas.
It is not expected that by the end of the course you or your child will be able to draw up a sophisticated permaculture design plan for a property as there are excellent courses elsewhere for adults to do that! We do however, expect that you and your family will develop an increased appreciation for your local environment, growing food, keeping animals and caring for yourselves and each other. And hopefully spending quality time together, having fun and learning as you go.
Here’s how it works:
Upon signing up, you’ll receive a welcome email and access to all classes on this website, covering the three permaculture ethics and twelve principles. You’ll also be welcomed to the Spiral Garden Seedlings private Facebook group where we’ll get to know each other and share our findings and inspiration as you work through the course.
In your own time, you will wander through the 12 permaculture principles, as defined by permaculture co-originator, David Holmgren in his book Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability (2002). Each session introduces a permaculture principle to parents and caregivers, so you can grasp the concept enough to engage your children in conversation. Next we provide guiding questions and discussion prompts to talk through as a family and introduce the concept. Some of the concepts covered may be intuitive to your child, so try to give them space to talk about and explore those ideas. We know that the relationship between every parent and child is unique, so you may like to alter the conversation prompts to suit you.
Through a range of fun activities, you’ll cover concepts like ecosystems, food forests, composting and worm farms, animal systems, companion planting, insects, medicinal plants and so many more! Activities presented will incorporate literacy, art, movement, science, geography and numeracy skills, to name a few…
Where and how you choose to approach the classes is completely up to you and will be different for each family. We’re hoping you’ll find the way that is most fun and just right for you and your loved ones and you’ll have a great time with it!
What the course gives you:
- A basic theoretical understanding of the 12 principles of permaculture, as defined by David Holmgren, co-originator of the permaculture concept.
- Conversation starters, relating to the 12 permaculture principles, as a guide to introducing the concepts to your children.
- Practical skills and activities, including; food forests, composting, animals in a system, worm farms, companion planting, no-dig gardening, foraging, harvesting water, seed saving, preparing a meal from the harvest… And so much more! There are more than 100 to choose from!
- A fantastic list of books. films and other resources to enhance your understanding of permaculture and the world we live in.
- Seasonal and age appropriate options for fun and creative activities that will reinforce your permaculture exploration, as a family. These can be adapted to suit you, no matter where you are in the world.
- Lifetime access to the e-course and printable course notes.
- Lifetime access to a supportive Facebook community of fellow participants (past and present), sharing information, thoughts, questions and inspiration from their corner of the world. We’ll be there to guide and help too! We host occasional chat nights so we can all learn together.
- A series of Minecraft prompts, challenges and inspiration to help your child think about putting the principles they’re learning into practice. We think Minecraft is a terrific tool to put permaculture principles into play while meeting children where they are at. You might like to get involved too!
- A printable certificate on completion of the course, for your family or for each participating child.
©Spiral Garden 2019.