My permaculture diploma pathway

I started my diploma back in mid October 2013 – three whole years ago! One of the first things that I was advised to do was to work on my ‘pathway‘ The aim of this was to really consider why I was doing the diploma and what I wanted to achieve from doing it. I did some work on this in various sketchbooks and notepads, but never wrote any of it up for my blog and never really set myself a solid pathway to map a route through the diploma.

After taking almost a whole year off the diploma while I concentrated on other things, I’ve been quite wobbly recently and wondered if I should continue my diploma at all. My life has gotten so full of other things that are constantly calling for my attention. My permaculture diploma had slid to the bottom of the pile and I was working hard on ignoring its calls for help! However, after some thought and discussions with my husband and my tutor, I’ve decided to continue. So this seemed like a good time to really get to grips with the pathway.

I’ve decided to use the design web to structure my pathway design. I worked through each stage as a brainstorm. The following photos of brainstorms show how I used the design web to PLAN how I would structure this design.

My planned vision for the pathway design is to create a design that both reflects on my learning achieved and designs completed so far and plots a path for the future, leading to achieving my diploma in 2017-18. 

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Other than in the initial planning stages, I intend to use the web in a random or web-like format, dotting around the stages as feels appropriate rather than working around the circle in a step by step manner. This will be a new way of using the web for me, so should throw up some interesting learning. I am using the design web in a flowing way, so when I see a direct link to one stage of the web being covered in this write-up I will highlight which stage in BOLD CAPITALS.

Now that I have worked once around the design web and have developed a clear plan for how to proceed with this design, I thought it would be useful to start with some REFLECTION. I’ve started by spending a morning going back through my many note books and photographing all the doodles, diagrams and scribbled notes that I’ve made over the years that relate directly to my pathway rather than to specific designs. This took me ages but I was pleased to find lots of suitable work, so it looks like I actually have done far more pathway work than I had initially thought. This is a reoccurring problem (theme?) for me, I forget that I’ve done the work, only to embark on it again and recall part way through how familiar this feels and that maybe I’ve already covered this!

I’ve collected lots of materials that show how I have approached pathway work. These are presented here in vaguely chronological order, the year is indicated.

2013

IDEAS for diploma designs were drawn up

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I brainstormed what was important in my life now ( late 2013) and what I wanted to achieve by 2017 – when I hoped to complete the diploma. img_4393img_4394As I write this post in October 2016- it’s really interesting to read what I had aspired for myself and to see that actually quite a lot of it has been achieved. I have had another child, I am still happily married, I have found fulfilling work and my family are well and happy. This really gives me PAUSE to REFLECT and APPRECIATE how far I’ve come in my journey.

I found a note where I have the IDEA to start this blog!img_4378

and brainstorms of some ideas to be covered over the first few months of this blog. Planning my IDEAS using time limited brainstorms is something that I’ve often come back to. It HELPS me spring into ACTION and fulfil my VISIONimg_4380

So back to design pathway plans, in 2013 I had started 3 designs and planned another 3 as shown on the photo below. I eventually completed and wrote up 3 of them for the diploma. Some of the others were abandoned for various reasons and some are still to happen at some point. On this planning sheet I thought about what technical skills I would need to develop to carry out a particular project. i think this was a good idea, as it records progress and ensures I am furthering my learning and improving my skill set. I can REFLECT on this and APPRECIATE it as being a good idea that I will use in future design planning. img_4381


2014

At the beginning of 2014 I drew out this rough timeline, plotting when various designs would happen. Having a PATTERN, however rough is something that I like to use to keep me on track. Of course, life throws up unexpected events, opportunities and challenges and this timeline pretty much went out the window! Buts it is interesting to REFLECT on how I had envisaged the diploma looking as I began my journey. img_4382

This second timeline was created later in 2014 and shows a few tweaks to the initial plan and a bit more detail about what the 10 designs were likely to be. img_4390

I had also drawn up a timetable for how I planned on INTEGRATING to work into my life, planning certain activities each month to keep to MOMENTUM. I often use tables like this to spur myself on, especially thought the winter and early spring months when I generally have more time available for diploma work. This yearly PATTERN has been an interesting one to note. img_4383

Here is another PATTERN that I set for myself. I looked at one of Holmgren’s principles per month for the duration of 2014 and 2015. It really HELPed me to learn about the PRINCIPLES of permaculture. You can read my blog posts about each principle by searching ‘Twelve principles for twelve months’ in the search bar. img_4384

I struck upon the idea of using the PATTERN of a honey comb to structure my plans. I loved the link with bees, all working together for the greater good. I also liked the interlinking of the shapes, to reflect how my designs are interlinked too.  I think this drawing shows the first time I used the honeycomb idea. This drawing also shows how i thought about scale, staring with a small project and then rolling it out to larger project once my skill and confidence level increased. At this stage I thought to focus on 6 areas of interest; designing, building, community, teaching, personal development and growing food. I have returned to this IDEA of 6 areas time and again. The numbers 6 and 12 seem to resonate more for me than 5 and 10. So throughout the diploma I’ve often planned to do 12 designs, giving me a chance to reject or abandon 2 in order to submit my final 10 for assessment. I think this HELPS me to LIMIT the pressure that I put on myself for each design to be perfects, as I know that 2 will not make the final cut! img_4385

A more developed honeycomb design exploring some of my design ideas from 2014img_4391

I spent some time looking at Zones as explained in the image below. I thought about zones as areas in my life and how I’d like my designed to be spread across the zones. I thought about starting from the centre, zone 00 and working outwards; Fixing energy leaks at home and in myself than more time and energy will be available to work outwards into other zones. This led me onto begin one of my biggest designs around my health and wellbeing.img_4389

This list shows how I’d progressed with my diploma by the end of 2014.img_4392


2015

At the beginning of each year I like to spend some time setting intentions for the year ahead. This brainstorm shows my 2015 brainstorm, not purely about the diploma, but its clear to see here how embedded into my life the diploma had become. Again I used a PATTERN of six areas to base my thoughts around. img_4398

I looked at the areas of concern as stated in Permaculture diploma literature and considered how my design ideas fitted within this. img_4395

I continued my twelve principles for twelve months blog series and looked at Mollison’s principles over this year. I tried to link these in with the diploma work that I was involved in each month – with varying success. img_4413

I also continued my monthly garden updates but in 2015 I linked this in with my growing interest in the special points of the year in the Pagan calendar. img_4401

I decided that for 2015 I would concentrate my efforts into 4 designs. img_4400

These are the criteria that I used to help me decide which designs to focus on.img_4402

Which led me to this updated list of 12 designs (designs 1-4 were underway and the rest were planned) img_4403

So by now we have reached spring 2015 and something came up which threw me off course for my diploma but opened up a whole new career path for me. I’d been wanting to do Forest School leader training for years and then the possibility came up to do the course locally throughout 2015. I jumped at the change and spent every spare minute of 2015 working on this. It was all-consuming, I created another whole blog for this which acted as my portfolio. https://emilycrofton.wordpress.com/  You need a password to view it, so message me if you want to take a look. I ran my six practice sessions in a local woodland which has led me onto doing that on a permanent basic and making Forest School a big part of my career. So my permaculture diploma was put on PAUSE until 2016. I really APPRECIATE that this opportunity presented itself for me and I can REFLECT that putting permaculture diploma work on hold was a good decision, I set myself some sensible LIMITS.


2016

As always I started the year with some forward planning. This time I chose 12 areas to look at as shown in the photo below. I took these from a life balance exercise given to me by my health and nutrition tutor some time ago. img_4414img_4419

I was aware that I was likely to be short on time for the diploma this year too, with completing my forest school training and developing my Muddy Boots business. So I set myself a few achievable diploma aims for the year. I also reviewed where I was (5 completed designs) and where I wanted to get to by the year’s end (work started on a further 3 designs) Setting my self these aims really HELPS me to stay focussed, REFLECT on what I’ve achieved to date and consider how to INTEGRATE diploma work into my busy life.

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Sorry this is a very scrappy drawing but it show well how I used planning, by breaking down each design into the steps still needed to complete it. You can see by the circles and ticks that I have mainly focussed on completing my health and wellbeing and food group designs. I never did tackle the ‘using permaculture in my forest school training’ design. I think was probably a mistake, but it just felt too big, I definitely did use permaculture to help me complete my training and to run my sessions. But explaining HOW this happened seems like too big a project to undertake right now! I need the remaining designs to be small and manageable in the little chunks of time that I have available for them. Taking a PAUSE from diploma work last year has shown me that it’s really beneficial to be realistic. img_4415

I revisited how progress had been to date (early 2016) looked at 13 potential designs and considered how they were interlinked. img_4417

I looked at what steps I still had to take to complete each design and wrote lists for work to be done over late autumn and winter 2016 when I know I’d have time available. img_4420

I considered how the ethics of Permaculture would be integrated with my pathway design and activities. img_5222

I picked 4 permaculture principles at random and considered how they would be used in my pathway.

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I thought a bit more about PRINCIPLES and how useful or otherwise they could be and just for fun came up with my own 12 principles that I use in my life and in my designs. img_4406

I created a spiralling timeline looking forward and backwards and plotting when each design fell spaced over the 6 years from when I did my PDC in 2012 to when I hope to accredit in 2018. Pushing my self-imposed deadline back to 2018 HELPS to create a more manageable diploma pathway for me to feel is actually achievable. img_4421

I revisited and defined my aims for the diploma and what learning outcomes I wanted to achieve.

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I reconsidered my areas of interest and came up with 4 over-arching themes for my diploma; Art, Nature, Education and Health.img_4424

I looked at the 4 areas detailed above and thought about the skills that I had when I started my diploma journey and skills I’d already developed and/or would like to develop by the time I’d completed my diploma. img_4425

I revisited the honeycomb PATTERN and INTEGRATED into it my 4 areas of interest and possible designs leading from these. img_4426

I then rather fell in love with the honeycomb design and used it to illustrate the ETHICS and PRINCIPLES of permacultureimg_4404

To fit in with using the number’s 6 and 12 and to work well with the honeycomb design, I upped my 4 areas of interest to 6; Nature, Art, Health, Self, Education and Career. These seemed to fit in well with the designs that I have done to date and those that I have planned for the future. I worked these 6 areas into a honeycomb design and looked at their INTEGRATIONS

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I then narrowed this down to 12 designs, each design links back to at least 2 of the areas of interest and is placed in a suitable spot in the honeycomb to show what it links to. For example, designing the Muddy Boots garden links to both nature and career. My health and wellbeing design links to both self and health and planning my accreditation event links to self and education. I am feeling pretty happy with this as a pathway design for this stage of my diploma. But I am open to new IDEAS and PATTERNS as I progress towards the end of my diploma. img_4410

So to clarify with where I am at in my pathway right now (Oct 2016) this is where I stand with my 10 diploma designs. Completed or almost completed Still to do

  1. Pathway design
  2. Designing the Muddy Boots garden / Muddy boots re-design 
  3. Food from my garden
  4. Developing Muddy Boots from a hobby into a business 
  5. My health and wellbeing
  6. South Leicester food group
  7. Forest school parties
  8. Self care following natures patterns
  9. Finding land/ developing Muddy Boots
  10. My accreditation event
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My health and wellbeing design SURVEY

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BACKGROUND TO THE DESIGN

I have been working on a diploma design since early summer 2014 about my health and well-being. I wanted to do a design at this stage of the diploma that was about me and improving my life. I have learnt that in order to head out and make positive change in world, you first need to have your own life well-managed and running smoothly. I have also learnt that my children are only as happy as their least happy parent, so to help my household be happy, smooth and successful, any change needs to begin with myself and work outwards.

To help me begin the design process I looked at zoning in terms of my life. I used the principles involved in zoning that are normally applied to gardening. The areas you interact with most are located directly outside your backdoor, such as herb pots. Moving out in stages to places visited less regularly located further away from your house. IMG_5500

This is how I classified Zones in relation to my life; Zone 00 myself, Zone 0 my family, Zone 1 my house, Zone 2 my garden, Zone 3 my friends, Zone 4 my community and Zone 5 the wider world.

I then looked at the frequency of use for each of these zones. I also noted down all of my ideas for diploma design projects into the correct zone. Finally I wrote in the circle in pen designs I have already undertaken and in pencil ideas for designs. I wanted to ensure an even spread across all the zones to provide a balanced approach in my diploma journey.

The design I am currently working on, My health and wellbeing design,  falls into Zone 00- MYSELF. It seems important to address the centre of the circle at this stage in my diploma studies, to give me more energy to commit to other designs that I have planned for the future that will take me away from the home and out into the wider world.

I find writing up a vital part of the design process, not only does it count towards my Diploma, it also allows me to re-think over all my actions and decisions and makes the design much clearer in my mind and therefore more likely to be implemented effectively.

For this design I have been using the design process SADIMET but I have added a ‘L’ for ‘learning’, so the process acronym becomes SLADIMET. I will be writing a post on each stage of this design process over the coming weeks. Today I will be looking at SURVEY.

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When using the design web for my last design, I found Vision, Helps and Limits to be useful places to begin. I feel all three of these tools fall within the SURVEY stage, so I have used them in this design too.

VISION – To design some tools that help me to achieve my aims of losing weight, improving my fitness levels, improving my food choices and providing me with some time to devote to myself.

HELPS- I am interested in this area, I enjoy cooking and love cook books and healthy eating blogs. I have a goal in mind of my friend’s wedding in June 2015, so that gives me a year to work on and implement this design, a good timescale I think. My husband is a health-nut. He cycles everyday and is running 8 marathons during 2014. He will encourage and help me with my exercising. He is supportive with the children. My brother and sister and both pretty healthy too, so I have plenty of people to discuss ideas with. My oldest friend is a nutritionist and currently on maternity leave, so she should have some time to advise me. The Eat Smile Live course I have signed up for should be very helpful and the FB forums another support network I can use.

LIMITS- I have a limited amount of free time each week to spend away from home exercising. I do not have much money to spend on this design, so for example joining a gym is not possible. I want any food related changes to be suitable for the whole family, I am not willing to cook multiple meals each day. The kids can be fussy eaters and may be unwilling to try unfamiliar foods. I am breast-feeding so can’t take a big cut in my calorie level. I love food and am not interested in a ‘diet’ that is about restriction or meal replacement. It has to be truly healthy to work for me. I must have goals to aim for to help with will-power. Any options taken have to fit with the Permaculture ethics of earth care, people care and fair shares.

SURVEY – I began the design in May 2014. I focus me and assist the design process I signed up to take part in ‘Eat, Smile, Live’ nutrition and lifestyle coaching 6 month plan. I completed a thorough health history, looking at my baseline weight, measurements, food diary and exercise levels,  health concerns and desired outcomes.

To briefly summarise the health history, I was 15 months post-natal with my third child.  11 stone eight pounds, breast-feeding and woken up 2-3 times each night, feeling tired, not exercising and feeling unfit. My diet was vegetarian, around 60% home cooked with 1 meal out and 1-2 take aways per week. I struggled to find time for cooking in the evenings. I drank 3-4 black coffees per weeks and lots of cups of decaf tea with sugar each day. I craved chocolate and salty curries. I drank alcohol 3 to 4 times per week, usually red wine or real ale. I enjoyed swimming and yoga but couldn’t fit these into my life. I wanted to make changes.

I set myself four goals to address;

1. To learn about nutrition and healthy foods for myself and my family

2. To exercise and improve my fitness levels

3. To lose the excess baby weight

4. To take time out for myself without feeling guilty

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Diploma design for Muddy Boots- Evaluation and further thoughts on Appreciation and Reflection

The 2014 Muddy Boots season has now finished. We ended with a celebration session during which we planted bulbs to see flower next year and ate a shared lunch. We also carried out some feedback and appreciation activities. I created a photo book using images taken throughout the year to show the group. This was handed round and participants were invited to add their comments on the back-cover. IMG_4973IMG_4972IMG_4971IMG_4970

I was so touched by the wonderful comments. This is one of my favourites;

“ Muddy Boots is a huge ray of sunshine in our lives. We look forward to every session. There is so much to learn, so much to share and a lovely sense of community and sharing. I don’t know what we would do without this group”

I also asked people to add their thoughts to a group evaluation in the form of a picture. See below. This worked quite well and was more fun than yet another evaluation form. IMG_4974  

If participants had not completed the mid-point evaluation form, then I did ask them to complete one at the last session. I collected 17 forms in total and have collated the findings.

Where did you hear about the group? Emily, a friend, the FB page or the LNM FB page

Why did the group appeal to you?  location, time, ethos, values, natural outdoor play, to learn about gardening, to spend time outdoors and healthy shared snack time.

What do you/your child get out of the group? spending time together, learning about growing food, meeting like-minded parents, being outdoors, a sense of community, a relaxed atmosphere, seeing friends, learning through play, having new experiences, freedom to get dirty, space to explore, learning skills and pride in food growing, being creative, learning to care for nature. ( It was great to see so many of my key function for the group echoed in people’s experiences of attending the group)

Have you been able to help out and if so, how did you feel about being asked to do so? 8 No, 7 tea duty/ washing up, 5 pack/set up, 7 session leading. 7 happy to help out, 6 willing to help in future, 4 unable to help due to children.

Do you think the group is good value for money? All 17 said yes

Would you be wiling to pay more, how much seems fair? 1 person said £2.50, 5 said £3.00 6 said £4.00 4 said £5.00 and 1 said £5.00+

Would you be willing to travel to a different site? Is so, how far? 1 person said don’t move, 1 person said I have no transport, 1 person said yes, less than 5 miles, 7 people said around 5 miles, 1 person said more than 5 miles and 6 people were happy to follow us where ever we moved to.

Should I put a cap on numbers of families attending? 5 said no cap, 4 said cap at 10, 5 said cap at 15, 1 said cap at 20.

What have been your favourite things about Muddy Boots? Activities, planting. being outdoors, watching children play, the sandpit, growing food, meeting people, the relaxed atmosphere, the good vibes, exploring the site, learning about Permaculture.

What haven’t you liked/ what changes can you suggest? It has been too busy on occasion, need a bigger space, have a longer session, have proper mugs for tea rather than the plastic glasses, continue all year round.

What activities should I run in the future? Natural crafting, digging, nature art, mini gardens, treasure hunts, planting, songs, water/ mud play, plant identification, longer sessions, more time for free play, harvesting, stories, exploring, keeping chickens, making fires, making shelters Caterpillar/butterfly keeping, nature lanterns, nature bracelets, leaf rubbings, pumpkin carving, seasonal celebrations, mud kitchen, cooking and eating.

SO IN CONCLUSION…. people enjoy the ethos of the group, the activities and ideas behind it. They want a longer session, they are happy to move but not too far, they are happy to pay more- maybe £4-5 each session. 

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I have looked back at the 8 key functions I identified for Muddy Boots in the planning stages and reflected on how successfully they were achieved.

KEY FUNCTION WAS THIS FUNCTION ACHIEVED? EVIDENCE NOTES
To teach children about food growing I think I started to introduce ideas around this subject We planted the following; runner beans, strawberries, sunflowers, peas, courgettes, beetroot, radishes, tomatoes, peppers and herbs plus flowers and bulbs.

We harvested; much of the above list plus, cucumbers, grapes, blackberries and lettuces

The key function needed to be more specific – too general.
To inspire a love of nature and art Yes – but I do think that only parents and children who already have these interests were the people who were likely to attend this group. Art– we tried willow weaving, potato printing, hand printing, colouring in sheets, we made a beanstalk sculpture, we created food faces, we sang songs and played with instruments.

Nature – we planted seeds and bulbs, we made bird-feeders, we went on a bug hunt, we celebrated finds from the natural world each week, we played with pinecones, sand, mud and water, we learnt about animals and insects.

“Playing outdoors, getting muddy, being creative, freedom to get dirty” – we quoted as being things the attending child enjoyed most in the feedback forms.

This is really two key functions not one.
To be a safe and welcoming environment for parents and their pre-school age children Yes Safe– No accidents or injuries reported other than the normal slips and falls. One child fell off a chair once.

Welcoming– I had lots of written and verbal comments about how welcoming and friendly the group felt.

Again this is 2 key functions really.
To be a place for like-minded parents to meet and forge new friendships and networks Yes I have looked at the register and noted the following;

16 people came to only 1 session – This is a big drop off but some of these people were grandparents attending with regulars, friends from out-of-town, but also some people who just decided it was not for them.

On average we had 27 people per session – 12 adults and 16 kids.

The best attendee came 11 times out of 14

Of the top 10 attenders, the average number of sessions attended was 6 times out of 14. There was a core of 12 families who attended regularly and lots of others who dropped in and out throughout the season.

Some new friendships were forged and others re-inforced by the group. The link to LNM FB group was important, as was the formation of the MBAP FB group.

Quote from the end of season evaluation “ Muddy Boots is a huge ray of sunshine in our lives. We look forward to every session. There is so much to learn, so much to share and a lovely sence of community and sharing. I don’t know what we would do without this group”

but will these friendships and networks endure once the group ends? How can I help with that?
To keep the education space of the community allotment looking good. (I designed this space for my PDC design project in 2012) Not really There was not time factored into the sessions for general site maintainance. We did however add some lovely features like the pizza pots, tin can flowerpot and sunflowers. I had to spend extra time at the allotment to keep it looking ok and the com allot people mowed the grass etc. Positive aspect of using the com allot- is there are lots of other people to help with site upkeep. Negative aspect is I don;t feel ownership over the space.
To be a learning opportunity for myself, possibly leading onto an income generation project in future years Yes and maybe It has been a great learning opportunity and running it alongside a P design project has really helped. Yes there is a possibility of generating income from this in future years. Needs lots more thought and planning.
To be a community run group that uses and values the individual skills of the participants Yes I think this key function was met very well. I had lots of help for the more mundane jobs like setting up/ packing up/ tea duty but also six people ran sessions. There skills like music, art, baby signing and guitar playing were used and appreciated. How do I keep this community feeling while exploring the income generation potential?
For families to enjoy playing and learning together outdoors Yes Lots of positive comments along these lines in the feedback and evaluation activities.

 

A further form of feedback I have received is the post-it-note comments I gathered from the other participants on the PDC when I gave my 5 minute presentation about my design for Muddy Boots. IMG_4969

And finally I just want to share my sheet for keeping a record of who is leading each session and the topics covered. This tiny bit of design worked really well, giving flexibility in the planning and in encouraging people to sign up for jobs where they saw gaps. The sheet was A1 size and displayed on the shed during each session. IMG_4992

 

Diploma design for Muddy Boots – Overview sheet and final design

I have created a overview sheet today listing the stages of the design web that I followed, plus my objectives, activity, timescales and design tools used at each stage. This has been a useful exercise and I think I will use this pattern in future design projects for both planning and reflection.

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I also thought it was worth re-posting my final design for Muddy Boots as it was rather buried way back in my blog in an update for the ‘Action’ anchor point. The image of the tree references both the Action Learning Cycle and the Design Web.

It also uses the cycle of the year to divide up the activity required to run the group. Each season flaps open (see second image) to reveal a list of activity to be completed. I wanted my design to be playful and child-like, connected to nature and deeply rooted in the cycle of the year,  reflecting how I want the whole Muddy Boots experience to feel. The image of a tree with opening flaps like a children’s book sums this up well I feel.

I feel relatively happy with it and very relieved to have finally reached this point! I am presenting my design at the PDC in 10 days time and am looking forward to receiving feedback on the design and the whole design process.

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A close up of each season/ stage in turn

Autumn – Appreciation, Reflection, Pauseimg_5235img_5236

Winter – Vision, Helps, Limitsimg_5237img_5238

Spring – Patterns, Ideas, Principlesimg_5239img_5240

Summer – Integration, Action, Momentumimg_5241img_5242

To make this design work for me on a practical level I then created this table for each stage of planning and activity. It allows me to clearly see each task and work through them and tick off once I’ve completed it. Boring but effective. The sheets go into the front of my planning folder and are worked through.

 

SEASON

 

AUTUMN
PATTERN

 

OBSERVE
DETAILS

 

APPRECIATION, REFLECTION, PAUSE
ACTIVITIES

 

  Deadline Done Notes?
Run the final few sessions      
Run a seasonal celebration event      
Produce a photobook of the year      
Do final evaluations with the participants      
Professional reflections on venue, sessions, timings, finances, support, participation etc      
Personal reflections on learning for me      
Plan initial tweaks for next season/year – site changes, paperwork changes, price increase, timings etc      
Begin planning for any planned changes for next year      
Show appreciation to venue, helpers, supporters      
Schedule in and carry out pause and reward time for myself.      
 

SEASON

 

WINTER
PATTERN

 

THINK
DETAILS

 

VISION, HELPS, LIMITS
ACTIVITIES

 

  Deadline Done Notes?
Preparation of self, rest, rejuvenate and re-inspire      
Research other similar groups to make links and gather ideas      
Revisit and reflect on last seasons reflections      
Set the intentions, vision and aims for the group      
Begin looking into practical considerations

–       Who are activities aimed at?

–       What will the pattern of sessions be?

–       When will the group meet, dates and times

–       Where will the group meet? Finalise venues and complete any paperwork/insurance/ H&S requirements of the venue

     
Set up all paperwork systems

–       Booking forms

–       Registers

–       Financial record keeping

–       Permissions

     
Make decisions around money, venue fees?, insurance fees? Weekly budget for materials? Equipment purchase costs? Book purchase costs? Costs to participants?      
Do projected yearly takings, set myself targets for income and exenditure      
Set myself an hourly/ weekly/ monthly wage      
How will I take payment from participants? Do I need to set up bank transfers, paypal, etc? Do I need change for a weekly float?      
Check and update email mailing lists      
Can I add an unsubscribe button to mailing list mailouts?      
Make decisions about time – how long will sessions be? How long will I spend planning, prepping etc      
Plan my working week and set working hours, how can I help myself stick to this?    
 

SEASON

 

SPRING
PATTERN

 

DESIGN
DETAILS

 

PATTERNS, IDEAS, PRINCIPLES
ACTIVITIES

 

  Deadline Done Notes?
Finalise all practical considerations      
Do Publicity and promotion – Current list/ waiting list/ then further promo as required

–       Newsletter

–       Emails

–       Fabcebook

–       Website

–       Instagram

–       Posters and flyers locally

–       Local press

–       Local schools/playgroups as relevant

     
Set up all systems required for taking bookings and payments      
Take bookings      
Design from pattern to detail- session planning

– Design term plans

– Sessions plans

     
Check current stock levels for resourses and equipment, what needs replacing, buying, borrowing etc      
Check first aid kit      
Plan what resourses, equipment and materials will be required and make these purchases      
Who will be supporting me? What do I need to do for them? Book them for dates required, brainstorming meetings, insurance? DBS?      
Is insurance in place?, when does it need updating?      
Do all risk assessments and any outstanding policy and procedure work required.      
Ensure all paperwork required is sent to the venues      
Site prep days      
Weekly prep      
Begin running sessions      
Documentation/ reflection/ promotion weekly      
     

 

 

SEASON

 

SUMMER
PATTERN

 

DO
DETAILS

 

INTERGRATION, ACTION, MOMENTUM
ACTIVITIES

 

  Deadline Done Notes?
Plan my weekly and daily tasks carefully keeping clarity      
Run the sessions      
Plan sessions that require further work      
Keep up with all weekly paperwork      
Keep careful financial records      
Purchase required weekly resources and record finances      
Photographic documentation every session, edit and upload to FB, website, instagram regularly      
Keep in touch with all interested parties      
Keep the waiting list updated      
Keep a reflective journal after each session if relevant      
Do mid term evaluations and make any required tweaks      
Support and appreciate people providing help      
Carry out venue maintainance as required      
Keep track of stock levels and purchase as required.      
Pay myself an hourly/ daily or weekly wage      
       
       
       
       

 

Diploma design for Muddy Boots – Pause

Incorporate time for rest and rejuvenation… How can I recharge my batteries? How can I make times of rest and quiet a built-in part of my design? How can I rejuvenate myself?                                                                L. Macnamara People and Permaculture 2012

teasel

 

Pauses are important. Quiet spaces in between all the hectic activity of everyday life allow space for reflection, relaxation and appreciation. Without the pause of sleep that we require for a healthy life, we would not be able to function during the day. Constant chatter can become an annoyance but a good conversation after a day spent alone is a real gift. So I think it is the contrast of light and dark, company and alone-time, noise and peace that is important. We all need to strike a balance in our lives.

I need to carve out times of peace and pause in my life. My three children are wonderful but all-encompassing. My family life is full, noisy, messy and hectic from the moment they wake up until the last one falls asleep. I am often trying to breast feed, help with homework, find a missing shoe and watch a dance routine simultaneously while cooking dinner and working on the computer. Phew!

I try very hard to find moments of pause in my life. Moments that I used to take for granted pre-children are now precious and closely guarded. Five minutes with the paper, a quiet cup of tea, a bath all to myself – these are my simple pleasure. I go to bed early and read my book in a silent room. I grab a moment in the garden on my own whenever I can. I have recently started running. I go out for a while and run along the canal path on my own listening to the wind in my ears and thinking of nothing. It is blissful to me.

To rejuvenate myself and ease my Diploma path I have decided to gift myself a treat at significant points along the way. When a design write-up is completed or a difficult idea battled with, I will factor in a reward. This could be to buy an inspiring book, to schedule myself onto a course, to plan a visit to a garden or to take a day off and follow my interests without any diploma related agenda! I will also give myself some smaller rewards, a cuppa once a blog post is completed, a squre of chocolate or lunch with a friend. I have always worked well with delayed gratification. I love Christmas Eve far more than Christmas Day. I like to get all my tasks completed and sit back feeling excited for what is to come.  So the promise of a reward is as good for me as the actuality of it!

I will aim to design more moments of pause into Muddy Boots sessions. I have often thought that I cram too much into the sessions and have to drag the kids away from the sandpit or mud pie that is happily occupying them. Time and effort is spent in encouraging them to take part in an activity when they would be perfectly happy just staying with the sand and mud. I am mindful of providing good value for the parents as well as the kids you see. But yes, pause is important too and I will try to sit back, observe more and just ‘let it be’

Diploma design for Muddy Boots – Reflection

Evaluate progress… What is the current situation? What is going well? What is challenging?                      L.Macnamara People and Permaculture 2012

IMG_8361

I am writing this with two more sessions of Muddy Boots to run before we stop for the Winter. I have been reflecting on how the design has worked all the way through the process really. It is a natural human response to look back over what has happened in your life and ponder. In order to make my reflections useful to me, I have formalised this pondering process and carried out lots of reflective activities for Muddy Boots.

1. I have kept a reflective journal. Immediately after each session I made notes about the following points; how many people attended the session, what the theme was, a brief description of activity, who led the activity, what the weather was like and how much I enjoyed the session. I tried to be honest in this and I have found it a revealing process. In summary, the sessions where I was well supported felt great, positive, inspiring and worthwhile. The few sessions were I felt I was battling through on my own, felt unfulfilling, hard work and unenjoyable. An easy lesson to learn there about working with others.

2. I have used The four questions a number of times when thinking about Muddy Boots. I have discussed the design during guilds and I have used the questions on my own. Especially at times when I am feeling stuck or troubled, I find it helps to settle my thoughts and see a way forward if I write down my responses to the four questions. ‘What is going well?’ ‘What are you finding difficult?’ ‘What are your long terms plans and visions?’ and ‘What are your next actievable steps?’

3. After the 7th session, I began doing Midpoint evaluations. I asked the group participants to complete a short questionnaire about where they found out about the group, what they enjoyed, why they came along, what changes they would like to see etc. This provided me with useful feedback, some of which led to immediate changes within the group like swapping squash for water and continuing to run sessions even if it rains.

4. At the final session on October 31st I will be doing Final evaluations. I need to spend some time thinking about what format this will take. I don’t want to do another written questionnaire really, so we may do a brainstorm activity. I would also like to give participant’s who may not be at the final session for one reason or another a chance to give me feedback. So I will welcome this via emails or the Facebook page. Again I need to consider exactly how this will work.

5. The four types of reflection listed above will feed into my reflections and resulting tweaks to the design. I hope to run Muddy Boots again next spring and summer but making some changes to how the group runs and hopefully proving me some payment for the hours I put in. So this design is very much ongoing and is hopefully the start of something much bigger for my future career path. Watch this space!

 

Diploma design for Muddy Boots – Appreciation

Focus on things to be thankful for… what can I appreciate about myself… other people… the world around me? How do I feel supported at the moment?                                                                                                     L. Macnamara People and Permaculture 2012

IMG_8398I appreciate the bountiful harvests currently being gathered in week after week at the school garden. I appreciate sharing this lovely organic, seasonal food with the children, watching them collect their shares to take home and seeing their faces light up.

What I appreciate about myself

*I have gained in confidence in planning and delivering Muddy Boots

* I have been very organised

*I have been good at welcoming people to the site and helping them to feel at home. I have been able to overcome my shyness at meeting new people and have actively enjoyed this aspect of the group.

*I have planned some great activities that have been well received

*I have taken lots of lovely pictures every week and shared them via FB

*I have inspired people to garden at home

*I have not let myself get stressed out by being ‘in charge’ of Muddy Boots

*I have dealt quite well with the difficulties of sharing the community allotment and have spoken honestly but tactfully to the people involved.

*I have created a good model for Muddy Boots and I have exciting plans for it in the future!

What I appreciate about others

*I have appreciated people’s practical help in setting up the site and tidying away at the end of sessions. I have almost always had help with tea and washing up duty.

*I have appreciated that Hilary, Abi, Gizelle, Oti, Zoe and Vicky all volunteered to lead sessions for me and all did such a great job.

*I have appreciated people’s feedback and honest suggestions for changes.

* I have appreciated people always turning up for sessions, even the two that happened in the rain! We have had an average of about 10 families each session which well exceed my initial expectations.

*I have appreciated the positive posts and thank you’s on FB and the recommendations people have made to their friends.

*I have appreciated the help and support of my friends and family.

*I have appreciated meeting new friends and forging new networks through Muddy Boots

*I have appreciated Sue’s positive attitude to having us at the Community allotment and her efforts in shielding me from bad attitudes of others on site who are less happy to have us there.

*I appreciate the offers of alternative venues that have been offered to me already by three separate people.

* I appreciate my sister asking me to set up this playgroup three years ago and the positive effect it has had on our relationship.

*I appreciate the time my mother has provided me with the gift of time, by looking after my son each thursday to allow me to work on this design and the write up.

What I appreciate about the world around me

*I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me to design the education space at the community allotment three years ago.

* I appreciate being allowed the ongoing use of the education space and the wider community allotment site.

*I appreciate having a shed dedicated to the equipment I use for Muddy Boots. I appreciate not having to lug this gear around with me or it cluttering up my home.

*I appreciate harvesting crops that others have put time and effort into nurturing

* I appreciate finding interesting wildlife every week with the children at the allotment. From foxes to worms, they have been fascinated by it all.

* I appreciate the weather being very kind to us throughout the season.

I appreciate the gazebos on both sunny and rainy days. Shelter and shade were always important. They also created a pleasant focal point for people to gather.

*I appreciate being outdoors and having fun with my children and my friends.