Place based method and practice
I can offer mentoring and advice in place based learning to facilitate processes which develop school gardens, the farm as a teaching place and community.
I have experience in developing exercises in drawing and storytelling which are the methods and practice of experience which enable a shared understanding of genius loci or spirit of place. This field of practice is to develop the senses and dialogue with self, others and nature, and to be conscious of these relationships.
To be in dialogue with sense of place
As a teacher and gardener I have many years of experience of connecting people with place through outdoor teaching.
“Genius loci”, or “sense of place” comes from the Romans and means something that is local and inspirational related to the energy of nature, and connecting the history, geography and culture of place with people.
How is it possible to live together and experience our different perspectives of nature, to listen so that the place can tell its own story? Is it possible to create a distinctive place with people, which makes evident the identity of the community?
The task today is about respecting the identity of place and to lead it from the past to the future through creative activities, knowing that no two places are the same, each is different and distinctive. How can we develop deep paths of understanding life’s connection to nature and the social field.
Place based learning
I have worked with place based learning since I was employed as a school garden teacher in the east of Norway in 1991. In 1994 I came to live in Aurland and developed the school garden and farm based curriculum. This started as a pilot project with the University of Life Sciences at Ås, section for sustainable teacher training, and it was called ‘the Living School Project’, www.livinglearning.org.
Both through the primary school and later ‘Eco-agricultural college in Aurland, www.sjh.no, I have been active, together with others, to develop teaching plans from kindergarten to 16 year old students. The curriculum is based on school gardens in the valleys, and a farm in the mountains. This placed based curriculum was later developed and was called the ‘Aurland Model’.
In this way during the last 15 years we have developed a model which has taught us to how entrepreneurship can create an ecology of inter-related practice between local organisations. Such as the public institutions and municipality, thereby creating partnership for the community, and the future. This is what is being developed as part of a new national project called ‘Inn pa Tunet’, www.innpaatunet.no. In this 3 year project the wish is to develop place based learning for all, www.aurland.kommune.no.