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Re: [fukuoka_farming] RE: Children's education

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  • Robin, Maya, or Napi
    Good morning, Although I have not yet followed the instructions that you sent earlier for tracking down the Holmgren sites, I have saved the directions; it is
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 6, 2002
      Good morning,

      Although I have not yet followed the instructions that you sent
      earlier for tracking down the Holmgren sites, I have saved the
      directions; it is clearly a worthwhile project. Larry has piqued
      curiosity even further.

      The two children's projects below are enriching in their detail &
      inspiring in their example. These links are more to us about brother
      schools (what we also call sister schools) where observing nature &
      garden projects is in the curriculum of both science & spirit, far
      different from planting seeds in styrofoam (!) cups for sale as a PTA
      fundraiser.

      The two sites below are a crisp example of how knowledge from this
      group spreads in ripples through the Circle School. Thank you,
      Robert, for another treat. As we have many times, our staff took
      turns with reading the article & being on duty. One might think that
      we have been lazy to have let so much important research fall into our
      laps, when we could have just typed into the search engine & gone
      looking ourselves. It may be pertinent, not to boast, but proudly, to
      say that, thin as we are spread, we do conduct early childhood
      research, produce conferences & conduct creditable course work,
      including on computer for continuing education requirements of our
      licensure.

      Circle School has an infant nursery, goes through pre-school &
      early elementary, supports homeschoolers of many grades, including
      middle & high school, trains community service interns, including high
      school job training, court ordered community service, corporate &
      student program community service, & for 7 years we have been a
      work-study placement site, for students from the local university who
      are majoring in early childhood education, developmental psychology,
      nursing, physical therapy, social work, art education, physical
      education, etc. So, we are the place where children from the families
      of our blue-collar, drug-blighted, two-hundred year old neighborhood,
      literally from birth through college & still when they become parents,
      has a connection to ongoing natural gardening, a vegetarian cafeteria,
      earth-conscious community projects, & membership in an organic foods
      cooperative. Eight children who have come here have parents who also
      were students here. The parents began as teen interns, volunteered,
      went on staff, now have their own families. Their children here are
      like the grandchildren who share their Ol' Na Na, & inherited the
      schoolhouse & grounds that their parents literally helped build. They
      look through the mirror to see the complex feelings of Fukuoka's
      family. Can we just make this place spiffier, like our normal
      friends' schools?

      Sorry that my reference to the magic button was abstruse. I meant
      to find out if there are is any possibility or intent of visitors to
      the Fukuoka site having a page to early childhood educators, with
      references culled from Traveling with Seedballs, & with links to
      children's projects based on his work, or more generally toward
      children's projects in sustainable gardening. Even if the visitor
      could take the direction from that page only to the Moo Baan Dek
      School in Thailand, & the links below, then the seeking educator would
      have been well served, prepared thus with materials to impress the
      principal or the PTA, that this basis for botany is far beyond the
      flower bed projects where children spoon-dig ready-grown trays of
      seedlings into rows. I would humbly submit a description, with photos
      if necessary or appropriate, of Circle School's Fukuoka-based project
      in the city park.

      The use of the word ugly in an earlier message had alerted me to
      the misunderstanding. In Wednesday morning's e-mail was a happier
      flurry of discussion. Now the readable blurb on the Holmgren article
      (which clicks to say open in Quicktime, & have tried a couple ways to
      no avail) confirms that Mr. Larry & Circle School do have the same
      usage of ugly.

      Holmgrens's Collected Articles says, "The following articles were all
      written concurrently with the manuscript of the new book (in press)
      Permaculture: Principles & Pathways To Sustainability and illustrate
      both classic and novel applications of permaculture thinking.

      Article Twenty Four. DO MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES SCRAMBLE YOUNG MINDS?

      In this previously unpublished article I speculate on how media
      technologies may also involve conceptual
      regressions and losses which undermine our ability to think
      holistically and adapt to an emerging low energy
      future. The ideas were stimulated by the experience of learning
      and teaching skills in reading landscape and
      have been refined through informal discussions on Permaculture
      Design Courses over a number of years. The
      bleak analysis it contains provides a counterbalance to my
      prevailing optimism about information and design
      creativity providing the lubricant for rapid evolution of low
      energy systems."

      Circle School teaching is based on interactive, perceptive,
      television-free, 3D, breathing, live & in person relationships. The
      education includes the children's observation of trial & error. The
      web study of the links to projects that I requested is for the
      educators, with juicy information, like what school districts have
      gotten grants. The link I requested is not to occupy our children,
      that is what the park & the seafloor garden are for.

      One of the highlights of a teacher or parent's eager study of how
      to do right by children, must be the discovery of the works of Joseph
      Chilton Pierce, a strong advocate of Waldorf, as Permaculture's
      founder Holmgren is. Hearing Pierce succinctly lecture on brain
      development - lizard stem as a finger, overlapped by mammal brain as a
      fist, overlapped by human brain as an open hand layered on top -
      parents & teachers are firmly warned about the dangers of development
      out of sequence. By introducing the 'reading' of symbols & 2
      dimensional screens, EVEN interactive screens, little brains work up
      the intellectual human brain at the expense of the ability to relate
      in the warmth of mammalian eye-contact empathy. Society suffers
      already from the lack of exercise of the ability to care for our
      fellow mammals. The good news is: it is never too late to exercise
      the ability, by looking at our children, holding them, practicing
      caring about them & asking them to care. Hope that does nutshell
      justice to why Circle School is, in its TV-free way, practically
      Luddite compared with most programs out there in public schools.

      If Mr. Larry was about to get ugly at the notion of bringing the
      children out of the dirt to study gardening on the computer, bless
      him. Hope someone here can get that Holmgren article #24 open. We
      appreciate your comments, Mr. Bob. We readers are your students here
      in the Bergson Nature School Post. Where is Mr. Leland? All this
      ranting wanders right back to his stuff.
      Good night,
      Napi



      Robert Monie wrote:

      >
      > Hi Larry and Everybody,
      > Those Holmgren sites are hard to pull up--no response from this one;
      > please check again.
      > Children are not mechanistic and therefore may be ideally suited to
      > follow the natural farming way. Most children have no trouble just
      > marching after Fukuoka and throwing out the seedballs. Children are
      > featured throughout his latest book in Japanese, "Traveling with
      > Seedballs." Children take readily to any kind of approximately
      > natural agriculture, including biointensive, biodynamic, and
      > forest-farming.
      > I don't know of any "magic button" to link all the educational spots
      > that teach children about natural farming, and I doubt I can find
      > another "sister" school like the one in Thailand, but I do know two
      > more web sites about sustainable agriculture and kids. One is
      > concerned with Hidden Villa in the Los Altos Hills of California
      > (which might be a good place for a novice farmer to intern):
      > http://www.backdoorjobs.com/farming.html
      > and a web notice about a grant in Minnesota designed to give kids
      > some hands on experience in sustainable farming:
      > http://www.msmarket.org/news_mfc_children.htm
      > Many web sites are temperamental; I hope these come up.
      > If I were founding a school (perish the thought), I think I would
      > name it Bergson Nature School, after the French philosopher Henri
      > Bergson, who placed so much value on "intuition," a quality children
      > have in plenty. For grownups, though, we would need to teach a
      > course "engineering yourself, step by step into nature," which
      > Bergson would have found hilariously funny.
      > Bob Monie


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