Teacher Training: Permaculture for Children

Jun 15 2012 - 9:00am - Jun 21 2012 - 5:00pm
2012 pdctt course poster

This course is designed for parents and teachers of children ranging in age from early childhood to middle school who desire to integrate these principles into the classroom and beyond. Some of the time we will be working together as a large group, and other times we will hold break-out groups focused on early childhood, grade school and middle school.

Many hands-on and experiential aspects will be integrated into the course, modeling and practicing these and related topics: 


  • Application of PC Principles to Teaching
  • Therapeutic Effects of Nature-Based Activities
  • Classroom Management
  • Strategic Community Building
  • Curriculum & Site Design
  • Creating Garden Classrooms
  • Forest & Garden-Based Learning
  • Education Through Movement & Exploration

Each day will include a morning circle, engaging lectures, activities and workshops.

Option details:

Friday evening will be open to the public and will be a panel of teachers representing different current alternative models of education for a question and answer session. We ask for a suggested donation of $10 to attend this as a stand-alone. It is included in the price of the weekend and full course options.

The weekend option will include Friday night’s lecture as well as Saturday and Sunday. The weekend topics will include an overview of applying permaculture principles to youth education including presentations of thriving permaculture school programs and age-specific curriculum design. The cost for this option is $180.

The full course extends from Friday evening through Thursday. The topics will include food forests, creating garden classrooms, analysis of nature-based play, the art of classroom management, yoga with children, therapeutic storytelling, and movement games. On Thursday, this course will be hosting a 'Skill Share for Children' during which we open our site to the public and each student will present an activity as a final project for the course. You will receive instructor and peer evaluations and will be issued a certificate by Patty Parks-Wasserman’s Institute of Permaculture Education for Children. The cost of this option is $480.


Returning Teachers from our 2011 course:

Patty Parks-Wasserman is a permaculture diplomat, founder and director of the Institute of Permaculture Education for Children (www.permacultureforchildren.org). She has designed permaculture programs for schools and taught permaculture and nature skills to children and youth for 10 years in public, private, homeschooling and non-formal educational environments for toddlers through 12th grade. By observing student enthusiasm and witnessing the change they inspire in their homes and communities, she believes that children and their educators are able to effect large-scale change on global issues. She is currently the environmental specialist at an International Baccalaureate charter school in Albuquerque, NM, where she is developing a multidisciplinary Food Forest curriculum with grade 7-12 teachers. This work will enable the Albuquerque area to become more self reliant, make schoolwork relevant and therefore more meaningful, and infuse fun into the curriculum for the students as they experience a sense of purpose and empowerment.

Matthew Bibeau, MSEd, is the Development Director of Mother Earth School and has worked in the field of garden-based education since 2005. A graduate of Portland State University’s Leadership in Ecology, Culture & Learning program, Matt’s work has also focused on the development and implementation of school gardens and garden-based learning programs in Portland Public Schools, as well as the development of three urban farm sites, Jean’s Farm, Learning Gardens Laboratory and Tryon Life Community Farm. Trained in permaculture design by Toby Hemenway (2006) and in permaculture teaching by Tom Ward and Jude Hobbs (2008), Matt has been generating momentum as a permaculture educator, co-coordinating Toby's PDC and co-teaching TLC Farm's PDC from 2009-2011. He serves as an active board member of the Learning Gardens Institute, represents TLC Farm on the board of the Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Land Trust and is a veteran coordinator of the City Repair Project's Village Building Convergence (2006-2012).

Kelly Hogan has focused her life's work on caregiving in various forms. During her college years studying psychology, she earned her living by caring for adults with severe mental and physical disabilities. She remained in this field for the next 12 years before shifting her focus to the fresh perspective of working with children. She received her Waldorf teaching certificate from the Micha-el Institute in Portland, OR and has been teaching since 2005. She moved to the intentional community at Tryon Life Community Farm in 2007 where she began to work as the assistant kindergarten teacher for Mother Earth Kindergarten - the first all-outdoor kindergarten in the United States. It was at the farm where she also became exposed to Permaculture. After receiving her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2009, she realized that she needed to integrate permaculture and wilderness skills with Waldorf teaching methods in order to create an educational movement that serves the needs of today's world. She continues her training in wilderness survival and primitive skills and is currently Executive Director of Mother Earth School.

With Support from the following: 

April Blair received her Waldorf Early Childhood Teaching Certificate through the Micha-el Institute in Portland, OR. She's always had a passion and reverence for the outdoors,  integrating her interests and skills as the co-creator of Mother Earth School. April was leadteacher of Mother Earth Kindergarten from 2008-2011 and currently leads an outdoor parent-child class at Jean's Farm in SE Portland.


Michael Becker has a BS in Geography and a Masters in Education, both from Portland State University, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Sustainability Science at Prescott College. During his first year of teaching Michael Becker took a Permaculture Design Course at the Bullock farm on Orcas Island. Ever since, he has pursued the use of gardens and design as a tool for increasing the hands-on on nature of what education can be. The Oregon Middle School Association named Mr. Becker the 2008 Teacher of the Year for his efforts in integrated and applied, science and math instruction.  He currently directs the Food and Conservation Science (FACS) program at Hood River Middle School.


The Location:

Last year this course took place at Tryon Life Community Farm in SW Portland. Although there is a chance that the course will be held there again this year, we are currently in the site selection process and pursing a more accessible farm-based location in the SE. The final site will offer considerable outdoor space and will be within a short distance from downtown Portland.

The Logistics:

  • Knowledge of Permaculture is a pre-requisite for this course. If you do not have a Permaculture Design Certificate, you will need to have completed some permaculture course work. We will be offering an ‘Intro to Permaculture’ workshop this spring that can fulfill this requirement in April or May (check our website for details). Permaculture Teacher Training registrants who have paid their deposit will receive a $30 discount for this workshop. Other 2-day/12-hour intro courses will be honored but a discount will not apply.

  • Carpools are encouraged and will be coordinated by the administrator of this course.

  • Tea, coffee and snacks will be provided. There will be a 1 hour lunch break each day. Course participants are responsible for bringing their own lunches.

  • Class will start promptly at 9am each morning (Saturday through Thursday) and will end at 5pm.

  • Payment is due in full on or before June 1st. A $100 non-refundable deposit is due with registration.

Enrollment Process:

When you are ready to enroll, please mail a check for $100 made payable to Mother Earth School and mail to Mother Earth School Permaculture Teacher Training: 3 Monroe Parkway Suite P #444 Lake Oswego, OR 97035.

Please also send an email to info@motherearthschool.com confirming that a check is in the mail. You will be added to ourPermaculture Teacher Training email list and will be notified of updates and logistical details including carpools, location details, course paperwork, contact information, and billing reminders. That is also the address to email with any follow-up inquiries and clarifying questions.

To pay online, please pay through the “Donate” button on Mother Earth School's website (www.motherearthschool.org). Please add an additional 3% to payments made online to cover the Paypal service charges we incur.

To enroll for one of the ‘Intro to Permaculture’ weekends, please mail a separate $90 check for the intro course made out to Matt Bibeau (mail to the same address as above; please indicate the dates of the training you are registering for in the memo section of the check). Also email info@motherearthschool to confirm registration for the intro course. Please note that the $90 workshop fee is a discounted rate and is only applicable if you have already paid the $100 non-refundable deposit for the Teacher Training Course. Online payment options are not available for the 'Intro to Permaculture' workshops.

Contact Information:

Please contact Kelly Hogan: info@motherearthschool.com with any additional questions about this course.


Feedback and participation welcome! Please send bug reports to web@tryonfarm.org