Case Study: The NOWschool Permaculture Plan

This is a permaculture design for the NOWschool – a green and sustainable school planned in Utrecht, Netherlands. This is a project of sustainable businesswoman Juliette Schraauwers, who approached me to create a design for the school.

This is a concept inspired by the Green School movement, which advocates an overhaul of our educational systems. Our current educational systems try to mould a child to the system. In these schools, it is the other way round. No child is overlooked or left behind and all are truly able to reach their full potential.

In addition to learning the traditional basics of literacy and mathematics etc.. children in the NOWschool will learn ecoliteracy. They will learn about and from the natural world around them. Instead of being stuck in a stuffy classroom, they will learn outdoors as much as possible. They will learn through learning and doing, growing, making, and quiet contemplation of the world around them.

Children are increasingly disconnected from the natural world. And we urgently need to redress the balance. We need to educate our children in more child-led and holistic ways. It is essential that we give them the tools they need to work for a better future, to care for the land, and to understand its systems and cycles. We need to equip them for a sustainable and ethical future for humanity.

This design aims to provide all that is necessary for an education of this sort, while also providing for the needs of the surrounding community. It also involves enabling a care of people and planet. And the creation of thriving and biodiverse food producing and wild woodland ecosystems that benefit the local and global environment.

We need to equip for the future today – right now. The NOW school is one concept that will help us head in the right direction.

2 thoughts on “Case Study: The NOWschool Permaculture Plan

  1. I like this design. We want to include permaculture in the design of our new school, MBAT. There are some aspects of our conceptual design that are not here though. For example, our curriculum depends on a core of formal teaching and age appropriate activity rooms. I am particularly conscious that I want children to be able to make noise, but choose silence when they want it. Interesting ideas


    1. Thanks for your comment. I’d love to hear more about your design and new school. I am not an educationalist but I come from a line of teachers and I completely agree with your idea that there should be formal teaching and activity rooms for different ages, and that there should be spaces for noise and silence. In my design, the library and reading room would be a space for formal indoors learning, with flexible work spaces in the yurts and other spaces. But nature is the main ‘teacher’. Kids would be able to break off for quiet time and even make their own dens in the wilder areas as retreats.


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