Permaculture Principles Kids’ Lessons Week 7-9

Week 7

Integrate Rather Than Segregate

Open Exercise: Have students in a circle. Raise right hand stick it in the center. Students each grab wrist of person to their right. We make a flower and turn the circle clockwise. Then do opposite hand and again a few times.

Walk around Garden: Remind them of patterns and then talk about patterns fitting together. Give points for patterns they notice fitting together, refer to point chart.

Objective: Our Garden grows in relationship with things around. It is a whole within a whole.

Remember the patterns we identified for the past few weeks. For example paths and the planting beds fit together and how they fit together is just as important as the path and the planting bed seperately. Some commercial sciences tend to study one aspect as if it is separate from everything. In our learning we want to see how all things integrate into a system, a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole. We can identify “wholes within wholes.” Two practices help us integrate rather than segregate: first each element performs many functions and second each important function is supported by many elements. Culturally people are trained to identify predatory and competitive relationships. We want to reprogram ourselves to identify and create co-operative and symbiotic/mutualistic relationships to build a strong garden, community, and world.

Activity 1: Use puzzle of different parts of garden we identified in weeks 4-6. Have students see how patterns fit into each other. Talk about how different and still complementary patterns fit well together. Talk about a piece of puzzle is a “whole piece” and then we make a whole puzzle. Extra: have magnets and talk about opposites attracting.

Activity 2: Calm Water Play
Talk about how we water the garden with buckets and water, the hose, the tanks, and the irrigation system. The important need of watering the garden can be done in three or more ways. We use water to water plants and to have fun by playing and thirdly it is helping teach today’s lesson; “so this pool of water is preforming many functions.” Have different buckets, cups, spoons, utensils in a tub of water. Have food colorings or just mud. Talk about how we can split water into different shaped containers. Have them recall swimming and how much fun a huge amount of water is in one place. Talk about how when our feet are in a stream that water connects to the ocean and how the ocean a connects all continents and  the rivers and streams on those continents.

Close: Our Garden grows in ___________? Relationship with things around it! It’s a whole within a ________? Whole!

Points: +10 points per “Wholes within wholes” coloring sheet returned colored to front box or next class.

Week 8

Use Edges and Value the Marginal

Open Exercise: In a circle, everyone holds up their own finger in front of their face. Each stares at own finger. Then we keep our gaze on our finger but use our peripheral vision to see the people next to us.

Walk around Garden: Go around stare at one thing like a tomato or bug, keep that gaze then use our peripheral vision to see what is around our focused gaze. Refer to point chart give points for noticing what’s around bug or plants. How plants fit together and how patterns fit together.

Objective: The edges of our garden have productive relationships to our garden.

Peripheral vision is a sense that connects us to the world quite differently than focused vision. Growing food is our focus, and at the same time we have to maintain awareness of the edges of the garden. Edges are where some of the most interesting events take place. We try to maintain awareness and make use of edges and margins at all scales in all systems. When we see edges as an opportunity rather than a problem our garden or design will be more successful and adaptable. We have to unlearn that the word “marginal” means things don’t matter, and re-value elements that only peripherally contribute to our focus. The world is made of edges we try to see all these edges as opportunity instead of problem.

Activity 1: Scavenger hunt around garden edges to identify how edges connect to what’s going on in garden. Compost, animal area, wild flower area, fence, entrances, grass areas, edge of fun jump building, paths in garden, ect. Highlight how there was the “problem” of grass getting into garden so we created an opportunity for compost, animals, paths, and wildflowers. These things only slightly contribute to food production, but they nurture, beautify, keep weeds down and make the garden more fun.

Activity 2: Wall Ball
Use a bouncy ball that can bounce off the wall and the ground; find where the ground is hard enough. Talk about edges of ball, wall, ground, and people. All these interact to make a game. Someone throws the ball at the wall, when it bounces back a person has to catch it after its first bounce. If a person drops the ball or the ball is closest to them when it bounces for the second time, that person has to run to touch the wall. Another person can then get the ball and try to hit the person running to the wall. If the person running gets hit before they touch the wall they are out (get a letter or something.)

Close: What has productive relationships to our garden? Edges! What two kinds of vision? Focused and Peripheral!

Points: Trash Pick up Mavrick Bucks or free play

Week 9

Creatively Use and Respond to Change

Open Exercise: Since this is the last garden class for the summer. We go around circle and each have 10-30 seconds to say what our favorite part of the garden is.

Walk around Garden: Walk around garden and encourage students to say what they like, don’t like, learned, and are going to do next in terms of their own garden, eating, ect. Then talk about how seasons are about to change and that we garden differently in fall and winter than spring and summer. Give points for fitting patterns together refer to point chart.

Objective: As surroundings change we respond creatively.  

Now that y’all have been in the garden for nine or so weeks, do you see food and plants differently than at the beginning of the summer? Has the garden changed since we started nine weeks ago? Change happens every second to everything. We sometimes make change and sometimes change is out of our control and we must respond. Remember talking about patterns, patterns to details? Change often happens in patterns like the four seasons or nutrient cycle: food-to-compost-to-dirt-to-plants and back to food. Changes can sometimes feel threatening like squash bugs destroying squash plants. An uplifting change is a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. We creatively prepare garden for seasonal changes.

Activity 1:  Planet TWINKLE and Rhyming
We are going to do creative brainstorm game. First we will pretend we are on a different planet named TWINKLE, and we want to garden there. We go around the circle and get as many verbal answers to the question as we can. Group has 1 minute to think 2 minutes to respond, you may not talk to each other, but you can ask judge question in 1 minute time. You get one garden point per answer and 5 points for creative or funny ones. In 2 minute circle takes turn in sequence you may not pass or skip your turn. Once time begins it will not be stopped. Speak loudly and clearly. 1. You will be shown a picture of something used in gardening on the planet TWINKLE. You must say something about it or what it may be used for.  2. Make a rhyme with something in the garden; ie the tomato has a rap flow, I have a number of cucumbers, the fence is dense, I am a compost host, the tree is free.

Activity 2: SPUD!
Have a ball. Number the kids off. Circle up. Throw the ball in the air high as you shout a number. That kid with that number runs to catch the ball the others run as far as they can from the ball. Once the kid catches the ball he/she shouts SPUD! Everyone freezes. The catcher gets to take 3-5 giant steps towards one person then throws the ball to tag them out. The person trying to be tagged must keep at least one foot frozen to a spot on the ground and try not to get hit. The person who catches the ball throws it up next. Each time someone gets hit by ball they get a letter in SPUD, when spud is spelt out they are out.

Close: When things change what do we do? Respond Creatively!

Points: Give food and herbs to kids to take home to their families or teachers.



About ellieearly

I was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas. I moved back to Amarillo Feb 2011 after university in at Umass Dartmouth and post college adventures in central rural Tennessee on The Farm and surrounding land. Back in Amarillo I tried staring a business called Better Kitchen Gardens. This year, 2013, the High Plains Food Bank hired me to teach nutrition and gardening at the Mavrick Boys and Girls club. I'm a "Permi" a permaculutralist! I will use this site to share my Amarillo Permi ventures.
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