Book review: Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share in Education: The Children in Permaculture Manual
by Matt Willer, Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘School Gardening Champion of the Year (2018) and project leader for ‘The Papillon Project’ . He's also a teacher at Reepham High School, Norfolk.
This was an inspirational book which, page after page, was extremely thought provoking and a very helpful guide to any adult who wishes to engage children with permaculture.
The Children in Permaculture Manual has been written by people who not only see the world through the permaculture lens, but also know exactly how, through thoughtful pedagogy, children can be engaged to see through this lens too.
It clearly explains the paramount message that children are today growing up in a world with many ecology uncertainties. I particularly found the line: ‘It is time when society needs to accept feedback from Earth and to respond to it’ very thought provoking. The Children in Permaculture Manual is a fantastic example of how the 21st century needs to be the century of big transitions towards finding sustainable solutions. Clearly, by empowering children with permaculture, with its three ethics of ‘Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share’, we can certainly start to create a better world.
The excellent practical teaching ideas that are loaded within this book, and the Children in Permaculture (CiP) curriculum, are beautifully laid out and clearly communicated. As a teacher myself it was very refreshing and wonderfully hopeful to encounter The Children in Permaculture Manual, which marks a clear transition from conventional educational.
Permaculture is a massive topic which, even for aspiring adults, can be difficult to get your head round sometimes. This book is very successful at not only making it easy for adults to comprehend the basics of permaculture, but also how to translate this for children to understand. As a teacher, who might think you know all there is about a certain topic and all its complexities, but if you cannot communicate this to children then what you know and understand becomes difficult to impart onto children.
The Children in Permaculture Manual is very good indeed at ‘bringing down to earth’ what children need to understand, and more importantly, why they should understand it. I really enjoyed, after every section or session plan, being taught by the book to use the analogies of ‘sowing’, ‘growing’ and ‘harvesting’ ideas when you are teaching children through the permaculture lens.
I also found it extremely helpful to be frequently reminded how a session idea/plan (‘Meet the Forest, Biomimicry – Imitation of Colours and Soil Test were among my favorites) always aligned with the key permaculture ethics and principles. Working with children as an educator, in whatever capacity, can often be very busy, and so I found it really helpful to be reminded to see a session clearly, without any blur, through the holistic and inspirational permaculture lens.
I would strongly recommend that any educator, no matter where they are on the permaculture journey, obtain a copy of this brilliant and uplifting book. The Children in Permaculture Manual is a very helpful key that actively unlocks clear understanding of permaculture as a vision of the future, for children. It is children, of course, who will, one day, be the future generations; The Children in Permaculture Manual is a welcome contribution to starting the transition towards a better future for all children.