Institute of Permaculture Education for Children (IPEC)

presents Permaculture for Youth and Child Educators

Teacher Trainings in Educational Design, Curriculum Development and Principles of Nature-Based Learning

Foundation Course (Intro to Permaculture coursework is a pre-requisite): June 21-27 or July 19-25, 2015 in Portland, OR

Advanced Course (PDC or Foundation Course is a pre-requisite): August 3-8, 2015 in Portland, OR

**Childcare is provided throughout the week-long courses. See registration information below for details, including cost.**

Permaculture is the conscious creation of a regenerative system that reflects the inherent balance, stability, and harmony of nature. Education should be the same. This course applies permaculture principles and design to popular and alternative educational models. It offers a wide range of learners and teachers an opportunity to explore new possibilities and practice new skills. It supports the shift towards regenerative learning and living, and the recognition that each are inextricably connected in the practice of life.

The Foundation Course is designed for parents, teachers and mentors of children ranging in age from early childhood to high school who desire to explore how to integrate permaculture ethics & principles into their school, classroom, community, curriculum and teaching design. Depending on the constellation of the course participants, some of the time we will be working together as a large group, and other times we may hold break-out groups focused on early childhood, grade school, middle and high 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
  • Nature Crafts & Activities
  • Temperaments, Child Development & Classroom Management
  • Curriculum Format for PC+Common Core
  • Basics of Site Design
  • Learning Styles and Diversity
  • Forest & Garden-Based Learning
  • Education Through Movement & Story

This course illuminates ways that permaculture can be applied to all aspects of teaching and weaves in best practices of both implicit and explicit permaculture methods as essential elements of your teaching design. This course is very hands-on. We teach using many different learning styles as a way to model doing this for children. Each day begins with a morning activity designed to model teaching to different age groups, followed by interactive lectures, activities and workshops. The last day of the course is a 'Family Activity Day' during which we open our site to the public and our course participants will present an activity to adults or children of a variety of ages as a final project for the course. You will receive instructor and peer evaluations and will be issued a certificate of completion by Institute of Permaculture Education for Children.

*Permaculture coursework (at least a 12+ hour 'Intro to PC') is a prerequisite for the Foundation Course. We offer an Intro to Permaculture weekend June 20-21 and again July 18 & 19 (9am-4pm) that fulfills this requirement for an additional $120. CEC/CEU's and college credits are also available for this course through Lewis & Clark College. Please download the form here. Any questions about the CEC or college credits need to be directed to the contact at Lewis & Clark that is listed on the form. Thank you.

This course is six full days (Monday through Saturday) from 8:45 to 5pm each day, with an introductory evening the Sunday before (5pm-8pm). This course schedule has been carefully designed to support the needs of the participants. We therefore require all participants to attend the whole 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 that arrive with plenty of time to settle into your housing and transportation arrangements in order to arrive on time to the orientation evening. Please do not schedule a departing flight any earlier than 8pm on the last day of the course (Saturday). The last day of the course is the final project presentation and attendance is required. Thank you!

Upon completion of the Foundations course, participants will receive a certificate from Institute of Permaculture Education for Children (IPEC).

The Advanced Course is designed for parents, teachers and mentors of children ranging in age from early childhood to high school who desire to delve more deeply into implicit and explicit permaculture design techniques that reach the heart of the work of the educator. We will be navigating the design of educational reform using avenues such as Theater of the Oppressed, Core Routines for Deep Nature Connection and Traditional Skill Building in order to build PC into your curriculum and school community design. Your final project will include curriculum written specifically for your upcoming school year.

The design of this course caters to the myriad of learning styles and includes the following topics:

  • Nature Skills & Awareness Building
  • Mentorship & Natural Cycles in Educational Design
  • Curriculum Writing Customized for Your Classroom
  • Technical Site Design Methods
  • Strategic Community Building
  • Program Leadership & Administration
  • Exploring Power, Oppression, Grief & Privilege in Learning Communities
  • Transformative Storytelling

This course is designed to unpack social and logistical memes that have disconnected education from real life. By applying PC design methods both implicitly and explicitly, we can dislodge limitations and liberate ourselves as educators. This course is primarily interactive and invites participants into traditional skill-building and active contemplation of how relationships inform one's capacity for learning. We will be translating our experiences into a refined written curriculum as a final project. Upon course completion, you will be issued an Advanced Permaculture Design Certificate from Institute of Permaculture Education for Children.

*A Permaculture Design Certificate and/or completion of our Foundational Course (this includes holding an Advanced Certificate from our full courses offered 2011-2014) is a prerequisite for this Advanced Training. CEC/CEU's and college credits are also available for this course through Lewis & Clark College. Please download the form here. Any questions about the CEC or college credits need to be directed to the administrative contact at Lewis & Clark that is listed on the form. Thank you.

This course is six full days (Monday through Saturday). Unlike the Foundations Course, there is NOT an additional introductory evening or Intro to Permaculture weekend leading up to this course. The schedule has been carefully designed to support the flow and integration of the content for the participants. Therefore, we require all participants to attend the whole course in its entirety. Unless an exception (extenuating circumstances only) is approved by the teachers in advance of the training, we will not issue certificates to anyone that comes late or leaves early. If you are flying from out of town to take this course, please schedule flights that arrive the day before the course begins and that leave no earlier than 8pm on the evening of the last day of the course (Saturday). Participation in the last day is a requirement. Thank you.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be issued an Advanced Permaculture Teacher Training certificate from the Institute of Permaculture for Children (IPEC).

About the Teachers:

Patty Parks-Wasserman is a permaculture diplomat, founder and director of the Institute of Permaculture Education for Children . 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 has worked as the environmental specialist at an International Baccalaureate charter school in Albuquerque, NM, where she developed 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. She is currently teaching middle school science at a local public school.

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, sits 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). He is currently the Lead Director of Mother Earth School.

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 'official' all-outdoor kindergarten in the United States. For the next 7 years, she co-founded Mother Earth School and was the preschool teacher there. It was at the farm where she also became exposed to Permaculture. After receiving her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2009, she realized that Mother Earth School needed to integrate permaculture and wilderness skills with Waldorf teaching methods in order to create an educational movement that serves the needs of children in today's world. She has been pursuing training in Rite of Passage, neurodevelopment, Jon Young's 8 Shields mentoring philosophy, and wilderness survival & traditional skills, focusing on tracking and bird language as a means of 'reading the stories' of the forest. She is also working with Theater of the Oppressed as a means of exploring social equity and cultural accessibility in private schools.

Enrollment & Logistics:

  • Each course requires different levels of permaculture training as a pre-requisite. Please take note of these requirements in the descriptions above. We offer an ‘Intro to Permaculture' weekend before the Foundations course. Our Advanced Course requires that you have a Permaculture Design Certificate or that you have completed our Foundations Course (called "Advanced Permaculture Training" from 2011-2014).
  • Carpools are encouraged and will be coordinated during the introductory evening (Foundations course) and online for Advanced course participants (the week before the course begins).
  • Tea, coffee, snacks and lunches are provided each day of the course. Dinner is provided for the evening orientation of the Foundations Course.
  • Class will start promptly at 8:45am each morning and will end at 5pm.
  • Payment is due in full at the time of registration. Please contact us if you need alternate payment options. There are limited needs-based scholarship funds available. Please ask only if you truly don't have access to money for this course. Please reach out to your support networks before requesting scholarship money. Thank you.

Registration Process:

To register, please fill out the registration form and mail along with a check for $580, [plus $120 if you are also registering for the Intro to PC weekend] made payable to: Institute of Permaculture Education for Children and mail to ~

IPEC Teacher Training (specify which training)
P.0. Box 82319
Portland, OR 97282.

Please also send an email to letting us know that a check is on the way. You will receive a confirmation email and then be added to our Permaculture Teacher Training email list to be notified of updates and logistical details once your payment has been received. That is also the address to email with any follow-up inquiries and clarifying questions.

$100 of your payment is a non-refundable deposit to hold your space in the course. The remaining balance is refundable up until 30 days before the course begins in the case that you have an unexpected change of plans. Within 30 days of the start of the course, no money is refundable, but your payment can be applied to register for the next year's training.

Payments made from outside of the US must be paid online please! It is baffling that it is not easier for US banks to process foreign checks (even Canadian cheques), but we have run into complications almost every time, and there are always foreign check processing fees. For these reasons, if possible please pay online with a credit card. Thank you.

To pay online, please note that there is an additional 3% added to all online payments to cover the service charges we incur. Please make a note on the description line that you are registering for the Permaculture Teacher Training and specify which course (dates of Foundations Course or "Advanced").

If you are registering your child(ren) for childcare, please fill out an Emergency Release Form and mail it along with your registration questionnaire. Payment is due at the time of your registration. The cost of childcare (includes 1 meal/day) is $285 for children ages 3+. For children under 3, the ratio of adult:children will be 1:2 and therefore the cost is $535. (This can be prorated if you do not need childcare throughout the entirety of the course. Your total will amount to $5/hour/child (ages 3+) or $10 per hour (children under 3 yrs old) plus $5 for each meal.) Please plan to bring a backpack for each child containing snacks, water bottle, fully waterproof rain gear (pants and coat), sun hat, sunscreen, change of clothes, rain boots, warm socks, warm hat and sweater/sweatshirt. Please label all of these items with your child's name. Children should arrive each day with sunscreen already applied and wearing pants (there are lots of plants that poke and sting at the farm, so bare legs are not a good idea) and sturdy sandals that can get wet.

Payment for childcare is due in full along with your registration for the course. We are sometimes able to arrange payment plans that require regular payments made reliably according to a pre-arranged schedule. The total will always be due in full by 30 days prior to the beginning of the course. After that no childcare money is refundable, but like course registration, can be applied toward future trainings.

Portland course details:

The Location:

Jean's Urban Farm is close to the heart of downtown Portland and is home to Mother Earth School's outdoor immersion grade school. Just one mile east of Sellwood, the land is farmed by a local CSA, has an outdoor kitchen, a yurt classroom, farm animals and compost toilet facilities on a wooded site next to Johnson Creek. This location is easily accessible by foot, bike, bus or car, and does require a short walk down a moderately steep, dirt driveway. Please contact us if you have special needs that may require alternative access. This site is approximately 13 miles from the Portland international airport (PDX).

Accommodations & Transportation:

We are unable to offer onsite accommodations for the Portland course, however we are happy to help direct you to local lodging options. The Hawthorne Hostel is easily accessible to our site by bus, offers some of the lowest rates in town and is close to a wide variety of food options including grocery stores. Guests who stay at the hostel must make their reservations in advance and will have access to kitchen facilities.

Other resources for lodging include Airbnb (Airbnb and Couchsurfers).

As you are looking for accommodations nearby, please note that Jean's Farm is located off of Johnson Creek Blvd. and 37th Ave in SE Portland (Portland is divided into quadrants, so knowing that the site is in SE will be helpful for your search). For specific directions to Jean's Farm, please visit the homepage of our website and scroll down to the bottom left sidebar. Bus line 75 runs frequently to the site 7 days per week and the site is also easily accessible from the Springwater Corridor Bike Trail. We do not coordinate home stays but there are occasionally rentals or bed & breakfasts in the area. When making any sort of reservation, please inquire about the location of your stay relative to the location of the course. Portland has a wonderful public transporation system and trip planning is easy at Trimet Trip Planner.

If you are traveling overseas, we are happy to help you with your process of finding transportation and lodging accommodations.

If you are coming to Portland from out of state, the closest airport is the Portland International Airport (PDX). There are many transportation options from the airport including the MAX light rail system, Trimet buses, taxis and airport shuttles. Please ask for recommendations where you book your lodging, as they will know the most accessible way to get there from the airport. Please plan to arrive with plenty of time to attend the orientation evening (Foundations course only) and to leave no earlier than 8pm on the last day of the course.

What to Bring

Course reading and references will be provided online before the course begins. There are not prerequisite reading assignments, but review of some of the information in the course packet before the course begins may be helpful. Each student will receive a printed version of our course syllabus upon arrival at the orientation evening. Additional resources (such as sample curriculums) will be available online for free or in print for an additional fee. Please bring writing implements and a notebook or paper for notetaking.

Portland weather is very unpredictable! Temperatures may be chilly in the mornings and weather may be rainy, but usually at the end of July we have lovely sunny summer weather in the 80's (F). Please still come prepared for rain (rain boots, raincoat and rainpants). Mother Earth School sells 'Rainskirts' as a cottage industry (water-proof wrap-around skirts that have a velcro fastener). These will be available for purchase at our course (small and large sizes available, prices range from $32-$39). All proceeds benefit Mother Earth School. Please also bring short sleeved shirts (in case the days are hot), long-sleeved shirts, a sweater, a sunhat and a jacket. We always cross our fingers for sunny, summer weather, but even though for most places in the country summer is in full swing at the end of July, the weather has been unpredictable in recent years.

Contact Information:

Please contact Kelly Hogan: with any additional questions about our Teacher Training programs as well as if you have interest in consultation services. Our phone number is (971) 258-1893. This is a google voice number which will send your message to our email account.