Educational Design

What’s the Story? Art, Science and Wisdom

Our educational story of today shapes our children’s tomorrow. Together with our children we engage in an emergent learning process to co-create a new educational “story.” By playfully inspiring a sense of awe about Nature, ourselves, family, community and all our relations our children organically cultivate a loving consciousness and sense of responsibility as integral caretakers of our world.

We spend too much time creating the world through our mind

rather than living through our hearts in the physical world.

– Dr. David Blumenkrantz, Coming of Age the Rite Way

IMG_3104Educational design at it’s core is community-oriented and community-inspired. It is not something that is done to children, but rather an opportunity to invite our children into a reciprocal relationship that honors both the authentic individual as well as their role within their families and communities – including not just people, but Nature and all our relations.

What’s Home?

In the “What’s Home? Community and Place-Based Learning” course you will learn how to exponentially enrich the learning landscape through community and place-based seasonal exploration in this 7-hour online + audio + email course designed and led by Lisa Kohlhepp and the What’s Home educational guide (curriculum) created in collaboration with PERMIE KIDs.

Helping children connect with their place and time

deepens their roots and enriches their connections

with themselves, family, community, Nature and all our relations.

“What’s Home?” is an experience that touches hearts, not just minds… something happens. Something happens that people describe as positively transforming not just the learning landscape for children, but relations with, among and between family, community and all life landscapes.

How Do I Get Started?

Register for the What’s Home course today or…

Become a Grassroots Supporter and get What’s Home free!

9 Learning Modules

“What’s Home?” consists of the following 9 one-hour modules. Just download the audio and listen – while jogging, tending to your garden or even in the car!

  1. The Welcome Home Balance

  2. Wild Child at Home

  3. Home Grown Family

  4. Neighborhood Tribe

  5. Free Play

  6. The Community Connection

  7. Globally Together

  8. Creative Integration

  9. Celebrating Home Sweet Home

Want to go deeper? There are supplemental online articles, videos and other resources for those who want to know more. A new module opens each month from September through May of the following year. All modules remain open through the August, so it’s not too late to get started!

This course is an initiation into the mindset (and “heart-set”) of emergent educational design in which our focus is process-based learning that authentically and intentionally deepens our relationship within, among and between ourselves, others and Earth. It helps children, families and educational communities connect the scientific “know how” of our natural world with the traditional wisdom essential for ethically “knowing how” to use our knowledge and connections with all things to nourish life.

Want to know more?

Take a sneak peek!

The Path is Made by Walking…

Go Further – Educational Design

For many, the “What’s Home?” course helps people take the first steps on a journey as lifelong learners dedicated to not just learning from the neck up, but learning and living through the heart to nourish life. For those who want to go deeper, there is option to become a Guild Member and become a certified Educational Designer.

Our Educational Designers join our exclusive Educational Design Community and have access to an extensive online, self-paced educational design course. Our PERMIE KIDs Guild Members are given access to the EDC as a benefit of that level of membership.

Our educational “story” of today shapes our children’s tomorrow. Together with our children we engage in an emergent learning process to co-create new educational story.

In the online, self-paced Educational Design Course, we explore the following seven themes of design:

  1. Working With Nature – Explore and understand our ourselves and our children as both learners and educators playfully as connected to our place, time, and passions.
  2. Reading Your (Learning) Landscape – Meet children where they are relevant to their place, family, and community and then interact with them based on their path in learning and life.
  3. Transforming Problems into Solutions Opportunities- Holistically integrate children’s passions into other subjects, topics, skills, and community resources and relationships.
  4. Potential of Small Choices, Great Effects – Help our children, even our young children self-regulate and plan how to structure their learning and life.
  5. Consciousness of Choice – Designing education from patterns down to details that help with creation, documentation and assessment of the educational plans.
  6. How the Yield is Limited Only by the Creativity of the Designer – Put everything together to facilitate the journey from knowledge- and skills-based explorer to active “do-er” who can apply learning through personally meaningful projects.
  7. Everything Gardens – Our children integrate their new knowledge and skills into the lives of others within their family and community.

Note: Prerequisite for the EDC includes having taken the What’s Home course, Institute of Permaculture Education for Children (IPEC) Teacher Training Course or a Permaculture Design Course (PDC).  Yes, our Guild Members also have access to the “What’s Home?” online course and can take both courses concurrently.

Become an Educational Designer

Educational Design is for those…

  • Wanting to enrich the learning landscape at home: Join the EDC and our online group collaborations and co-create a learning landscape with children that nourishes life.
  • Starting or already part of a collaborative, nature-oriented learning community: Bring continuity to the learning with whole systems thinking and educational design. Organize a workshop to help your community learn the foundations of educational design (6 hours workshop, minimum of 4 people/families required and a maximum of 24). Workshops can be given in-person or online and is ideal for homeschooling co-ops, schools, summer camps, state or national park and rec services and spiritual educational communities like Unitarian Universalists.

Are you part of a “guild” of three or more educators looking to collaborate? Join as Guild Members and start learning Educational Design together.

Want to purchase the EDC a la cart? Here’s our best deal for you.

Want to know more?

Take an EDC sneak peek

Me to We

In Educational Design, we learn how to help children playfully and naturally find their bliss in learning and life and use their passions to embrace their role and responsibility as part of the “we” within this world. Along with our children, we learn, design, inspire, write a new educational story that will transform the future!

Emerging Educational Design


Learn the art, science, and wisdom of mentoring our children on their unique journeys in learning and life. This is not a “program,” but an emerging process with a framework that helps provide a support structure that is then filled in by our children to reveal a learning landscape that is connected to their place, time, family, and community.

We work together with our children to figure out where they are, where they want to go, and what their true north is to navigate their learning landscape. However, it is the unique path that emerges on that journey that is the blessing. So rarely do journeys of significance and value in our lives follow a straight line. It is the mindful and purposeful wondering and forging of our own path through the landscape that deepens our understanding of ourselves in relation to the world around us.

It is the journey and not the destination that can change the story of what it means to learn, educate, and be educated. And when we change the story we transform the future.

Together we will:

  • Explore nature relationships between self, family, community, and nature in place and time
  • Playfully and effectively explore passions and talents
  • Embrace inquiry and “failure” as essential elements for reflection and development
  • Learn the art of mentoring and discover the grace in lifelong learning
  • Help our children find and use their passions to care for themselves, others, and the earth

Develop the confidence, knowledge, and skills to help children playfully and naturally integrate their passions into a holistic education that includes subjects like science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Taking action with their new knowledge and skills filtered through the lens of their values (true north), children design projects that weave in language arts, history, economics, as well as business and entrepreneurship.

These projects are not the end goal (destination). Rather they are a means for learning how to use their passions, inherent gifts and developing talents to expand their understanding of their authentic selves and their role within this interconnected world.

In this new educational story the climax is not when the project is done, but instead when children share their new understandings and skills with the community and create real change in the world around them. This is the climax, not the end point. It is a milestone and an indicator that the next leg of this journey is about to begin.

Through this not only does the individual child develop, but the community is enriched and transformed as it recognizes, values and celebrates this rite of competency in the children’s learning journey. Children therefore acquire an education that is more than just academically rigorous. They develop critical life skills, empowering characteristics, attitudes and values, as well as a whole systems mindset that ignites the fire within to change the story and transform the future.

Are you part of a group of parents or educators? Join as Guild Members and start learning Educational Design together.

Want to purchase the EDC a la cart? Here’s our best deal for you.

Designing Learning Landscapes

Rotting Wood v3We co-design a learning culture that cares for people and the earth. Through community-oriented education that enriches self-discovery and empowerment children come to better understand their place, time and relationships with the people and world around us.

Through, as Dr. Blumenkrantz from Center of Youth and Community might call, an emergent design process this experience can help early childhood and primary age children, parents, educators, and communities learn to design a holistic education with our children to forge their path interconnected in learning and life. Just as we can design living landscapes like backyards and kitchen gardens, we can design our learning landscapes.

BlueberriesIn the beginning, we called this a “course,” but from the first cohort it became obvious that this is not a course. It is about community, a learning community, and it doesn’t not “end,” but instead endures, evolves, and grows. Our hope is that our Educational Designers (young and old) become community organizers and facilitators to help others in their community continue on their journey.

Individually we work to enrich the relationships in our local systems and collectively we are designing regenerative whole systems learning landscapes across the globe.

Together we learn to:

  • BeansDevelop the consciousness, knowledge, skills, and connections for whole systems educational design
  • Meaningfully, authentically and playfully integrate the voices of children, families, communities and nature into the learning landscape
  • Help children expand their sense of self by developing a relationship with nature and their community
  • Cultivate not just the “know how” of education, but the “knowing how” to ethically use education to care for people and the earth
  • Design experiential education plans integrate academic subjects rather than separate
  • Help children find their bliss and use their passions to transform challenges into opportunities to nourish life
  • DandelionSupport children in their ability to learn how to learn well, no matter what they are learning
  • Use a variety of assessment and documentation methods that extend the traditional paradigm of what it means to learn, develop and succeed
  • Integrate local and culturally relevant resources for community-oriented education
  • Utilize children’s passions and niches of brilliance to design personalized educational plans, units, classes and programs
  • Change the story of education to one that inspires children to take positive, personally meaningful action in their lives, communities and the world

Who is Educational Design for?

This experience is for parents, educators, and community mentors of children from early childhood through the primary years. Together through an emergent design process, you will learn the framework and consciousness to integrate systems thinking into the educational design within your family, homeschooling group, learning center, classroom, school and/or community.

imageThe online experience is hands-on and experiential and is unlike any other “teacher training” program. This isn’t an educational story about a new technique, scripted set of activities or even prescribed educational curriculum to “solve” the problems of today. This is about changing consciousness and writing a new educational story that that can transform the future.

Together we will start on a journey that honors not only our children, but also families, educators, mentors, communities, our past and present, as well as our physical, emotional, social, and soulful connections to place, nature, Earth, and beyond. We integrate whole systems educational design that honors and expands our children’s sense of self by exploring the values, roles, and responsibilities of being part of a systems (place, family, community) within the global and universal systems. Children learn to not only value academic and cognitive development and ways to live in harmony with people and the world, but to value the natural relationships that emerge and enrich our lives, guiding us on our journey from the “me” to the “we.”

How does it all work?

Crabapple sortingThere are families and educators from all walks of life around the globe who have joined our community. Some homeschool. Others unschool or use some form of experiential education. Others have children who attend public or private school, but they want to enrich and connect learning at home in the evenings and on the weekends using the Educational Design framework. Yet other participants are educators who want to learn how to better work with children to co-design their learning learning landscape.

Bottom line, there is a wonderfully diverse, growing community and we designed the learning framework to use and value that diversity.

You are Not Alone

time concept

Join a community of learners just like you – dedicated parents and educators – who desire a collaborative, shared learning experience. We share our knowledge, skills, techniques, and unique tools designed for and with our community. We honor the individual paths we are all on while at the same time knowing we are interconnected and supported by one another along this journey that shapes us as well as our children.

As part of the EDC you will:

  • Join an exclusive learning community dedicated to changing the story of what it means to learn, educate and be educated
  • Explore a buffet of educational ideas, knowledge, skills, concepts and (most important) processes necessary for understanding the fundamentals of Educational Design
  • Deepen your understanding of the framework, processes and techniques through extensive online learning materials (Most written materials are also available as an audio download – put onto your iPod or MP3 player and listen when and where you want without being tied to the computer)
  • Collaborate monthly via a whole community video conferencing calls with Jen and others in our community 

Are you part of a group of parents or educators? Become a Guild Member and start learning Educational Design together.

Want to purchase the EDC a la cart? Here’s our best deal for you.


Want to know more?

Take an EDC sneak peek

Note: This is not a course to teach children how to do permaculture in the landscape. This is a community that wants to utilize the ethical, scientific methodology of permaculture and the principles of youth and community develop through initiation and rites of passage designed by Dr. David Blumenkrantz from the Center for Youth and Community to help children, families, communities, and this world learn and develop, regardless of what is being learned. Many children may develop a passion and find their bliss by taking their learning into that realm. However, the Educational Design Community is dedicated to helping children, parents, educators, and community learn how to design holistic education plans that are place, time, and culturally meaningful.

Thank you Mickey for the featured image (CC-BY 2.0)

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