Advanced Teacher Training in Youth and Child Permaculture Education

  • This summer we are offering our course in 2 locations:
  • June 15-21, 2014 in Taos, NM (July 20-26 in Portland, OR is FULL), email us to be placed on the wait list
  • Please read the site-specific details for the course you are choosing before registering!!
  • Our weekend Introduction to Permaculture workshops are offered the weekend before our courses begin (9am-4pm Sat & Sun) and are a prerequisite for the course if you have no prior Permaculture training.
  • Our intro weekend dates in NM are June 14-15 and in Portland are July 19-20. There is an additional cost of $120 to enroll in the intro weekend.
  • The cost of the full Teacher Training Certificate Course is $480.
  • The full course begins on a Sunday evening from 5-8pm for a shared meal (please bring either a food or financial contribution), orientation, introduction to course content and opening ceremony.
  • Mon-Sat the course hours are 8:45am-5pm.
*72-hour PDC or 12+ hour 'Intro to PC' are prerequisite for the full course, PDC required for receiving an advanced teacher training certificate. CEC/CEU's and college credits are available for this course through Lewis & Clark College. Please download the form here.

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.

This course is designed for parents and teachers of children ranging in age from early childhood to high school who desire to integrate permaculture ethics & principles into their school, classroom, community, curriculum and/or 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 Awareness (Games & Activities)
  • Brain Development & Classroom Management
  • Strategic Community Building
  • Curriculum & 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 specifically hones in on: nature as teacher, school gardens, food forests, storytelling, diversity awareness, community building, nature crafts & making classroom supplies, classroom management, movement/games and designing nature into your curriculum. 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 circle designed for different age groups, interactive lectures, activities and workshops. The last day of the course is a 'Skill Share for Children' during which we open our site to the public and groups of students will present an activity to 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 by Learning Gardens Institute. You must have a Permaculture Design Certificate in order to receive the Advanced Teacher Training Certificate. All others will receive a certificate of completion.

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:

  • 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' weekend before the full course that fulfills this requirement. If you are unable to attend this weekend, please search for other options in your area and feel free to contact us with any questions.
  • Carpools are encouraged and will be coordinated by the administrator of this course.
  • Tea, coffee and snacks will be provided. There will be a 45 minute lunch break each day. Course participants are responsible for bringing their own lunches, although there may be the opportunity to purchase catered lunch on-site for $10 per day.
  • 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.

Enrollment Process:

When you are ready to enroll, please mail a check for $480, [plus $120 if you are also registering for the Intro to PC weekend] made payable to: Mother Earth School and mail to ~

Mother Earth School Permaculture Teacher Training (specify: Taos or Portland)
P.0. Box 82124
Portland, OR 97282.

Please include your contact information with your check and also send an email to confirming 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.

To pay online, please click on this payment button, adding an additional 3% to payments made online to cover the Paypal service charges we incur. Please make a note on the description line that you are registering for the Advanced Teacher Training and specify the location of the course (either Taos or Portland).

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. 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 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.

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 enrollment for the Advanced Teacher Training in Youth & Child Permaculture Education. Please also contact Kelly for the Portland location-oriented details and questions.

Taos course details:

The Location:

Lettuce Grow Farm is a 2.25 acre family operated farm and educational center in El Prado, outside of beautiful Taos, NM. The physical address is 1010 Francis Rd. El Prado, NM 87529. Taos does not have its own airport that operates regular flights, but does have some smaller airports in the region, including Los Alamos County Airport (LAM) and Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF), which are both within a 2 hour drive of El Prado. The largest airport in the region is the Albuquerque Airport (ALB) which is approximately 3 hours from El Prado. There are shuttles that will bring you from the airport directly to the location of our course for approximately $60 each way. Advance reservations are necessary.

Accommodations & Transportation:

On-site tent camping is available at Lettuce Grow Farm at a cost of $10 per night. You will need to provide your own tent, bedding, personal items and food for dinner. There is a 15-person limit, so please make reservations by emailing You will have access to kitchen & bathroom facilities (both indoor and outdoor showers) and food storage. Shuttles to town will be coordinated for those who do not have cars in order to purchase groceries and participate in evening outings.

Other resources for lodging include local hotels, Airbnb and Couchsurfers. Please note that if you plan to stay in the area but not on-site, there is not access to the site through local public transportation, so a car or bike rental is recommended.

Optional breakfasts ($5 per day) and lunches ($10 per day) will be available to all Taos course participants. All meals are vegan and gluten-free. Please email Julie to reserve meals:

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.

The weather in Taos at the end of June averages in the low 40 degrees (F) at night and in the mid 80 degrees (F) during the day. Desert temperatures vary greatly from the middle of the night to the heat of the day, so please bring a variety of clothing including t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, warm socks and a jacket. Sunscreen and sunhat are advised, as we anticipate (but cannot promise!) sunshine. Please do bring rain gear in case of rain.

Contact Information:

Please contact Julie Shedko: with any additional site-specific questions about Lettuce Grow Farm, and to make reservations for food and/or camping there. For questions about registration for the Taos course, please email Kelly Hogan: