Every Child has an Inner Compass


Share new perspectives on how to nurture the emergence of moral values in the young child

You are invited to join an ISSA Peer Learning Activity (PLA) that will take place in Bucharest, Romania, February 10-11,  2020, led by the Neohumanist Education Association (Romania) and Zonnelicht Kindergarten (Netherlands). This is an exchange of experience specifically designed for ISSA members, who can apply for funding that will cover their participation. There are also a limited number of places available to people from outside of the ISSA network, or from the local Romanian educational community, but they will have to cover their own expenses.

Exploring the  emergence of morality:

  • If we see the child as a competent learner, how does this shift our understanding and practice of moral education?
  • Is moral education a necessity in the modern world?
  • Is morality a socially imposed construct, or inherent to human nature? If inherent, what are the educational implications?
  • How can educators help children to develop and listen to their moral compass?


In this Peer Learning Experience, early childhood education experts and leaders will meet to discuss and reflect on best practices in supporting young children to develop their own inner compass of moral values.

Nurturing Intrinsic Morality vs. Imposed Morality

In the past, especially in authoritarian forms of education, moral education tended to rely on fear-based approaches to impose moral values from the outside. Traditional religions were also a source of moral education, however, their influence has faded as educational systems become increasingly secular.

Fresh approach

Fresh approaches are needed that aid young children in developing a reliable inner compass to navigate an increasingly sophisticated and complex world.  How can we support children in finding their sense of self-hood and their ability to make wise, empathic,  pro-social choices?


Yolande Koning, the director of the Zonnelicht kindergarten a Neohumanist kindergarten has more than 30 years of experience in developing innovative approaches to moral education with young children.  Together with Didi Devapriya from the Neohumanist Education Association in Romania, they have compiled practical approaches that early childhood educators can use to support the emergence of the self and intrinsic moral values.

How to sign up?

During this peer learning experience, they will share the results of their collaboration and invite debate and discussion on the topic with educators from Romania and at least five other ISSA member countries.

To find out more information and sign up for the PLA, please contact Didi:  didi (at)

Participants will be selected on a first-come-first-served basis.

Registration Deadline

The deadline for registration is January 31.

Costs included for ISSA members:

Travel costs up to 250 euros, and accommodation for 3 nights in Bucharest and meals during the meeting will be covered for members of the ISSA Network.

To find out more information and sign up for the PLA, please contact Didi:  didi (at)




Green play and learning with Sardes!

Green playing & learning’ is an ISSA Peer Learning Activity developed by Sardes (the Netherlands) and the Neohumanist Education Association (AEN, Romania). In this PLA trainers will be trained to teach preschool and early years teachers how they can enrich their program with the ethics of “earth care, people care and fair share” from permaculture, and use the natural curiosity of young children to explore and discover nature.

The training

In the training ‘Green playing & learning’ ECD teachers will learn how to use young children´s curiosity for nature and how to embed the permaculture principles of ‘earth care, people care and fair share’. They take the children outside to discover the overwhelming treasures of nature, and they learn how to take and use nature and natural materials inside as well. Participants are taught how to design and develop a nature theme with activities covering all relevant development areas.

Download the leaflet Green playing and learning


When: Monday-Tuesday, 13-14 May 2019

Where: Visitors centre Natuurmonumenten Gooi en Vechtstreek, Noordereinde 54-b, 1243JJ, ’s Graveland

Course size: maximum of 12 participants (max. 2 per ISSA member)

Accommodation: one night stay covered by ISSA/PLA program (bed + breakfast).

Travel: 100 EUR per participant contribution to travel cost is provided by ISSA/PLA.

Meals: on Monday May 13th lunch and dinner are provided. On Tuesday May  14th lunch is provided.


Training: Peace Education – Expanding Peace from Inside

ISSA members, Neohumanist Education Association (Romania) and Mutant (Netherlands) are pleased to invite you to a two-day “Peer Learning Activity” (PLA) funded by ISSA, to teach the skills necessary for inner and outer peace and happiness from the early years, in age-appropriate ways!

This PLA will adapt the “Peace in your Hands” international training and materials to early childhood education and incorporate practices from Neohumanist Education, such as Quiet Time, Yoga for Children, Wisdom stories and the inner development of the teacher.

Who is this Peer-Learning Activity for?

This training is designed for early childhood education professionals (directors, trainers or practitioners) that wish to pro-actively enhance children’s resilience and abilities to actively create a peaceful, happy world around them.  Skills in self-regulation, conflict resolution, as well as values based on peace, can be taught from the early years and create a strong foundation for life.

Read More


Children in Permaculture Training for Teachers


A fresh, innovative approach to ecological education in the early years

  • Are you inspiring or educating children between 3-12 years old (as a teacher, parent, grandparent, child-care worker, etc)?
  • Do you love nature and want to find ways to share that passion with children?
  • Are you concerned about the future of the planet and want to be part of long-term, sustainable solutions?

This two day workshop offers practical tools for embedding ecological attitudes and love for nature into the education of young children. Read More


Children in Permaculture Training


 A fresh, innovative approach to ecological education in the early years

  • Are you inspiring or educating children between 3-12 years old (as a teacher, parent, grandparent, child-care worker, etc)?
  • Do you love nature and want to find ways to share that passion with children?
  • Are you concerned about the future of the planet and want to be part of long-term, sustainable solutions?

This two day workshop offers practical tools for embedding ecological attitudes and love for nature into the education of young children Read More

The Little Captain and the Great Sea

Lightning flashed, thunder cracked and rain poured from the sky. The boat rocked dangerously as huge storm waves splashed on the deck. The little captain took a deep belly breath to steady himself and calm the fast beating of his heart so that he could thinking clearly. He held the steering wheel firmly in his hands and guided the boat through the terrible thunderstorm to quieter waters. He loved being in charge of his ship, he enjoyed knowing exactly what to do. The dark clouds had dispersed and a few stars shone brightly in the sky. The waves were calm and gentle, and so was his breathing, now that the danger had passed. Looking out over the peaceful sea at night, with the light of the moon dancing across the ripples, he relaxed and smiled.

What is it?

ISSA members Sardes (the Netherlands) and the Neohumanist Education Association (AEN, Romania) developed this Peer Learning Activity (PLA) as a 2-day joint learning activity about the role of yoga and meditation techniques in stimulating young children’s Executive Function and Self-Regulation. The starting point is The Little Captain, developed by Sardes as a professional development package that helps preschool teachers to stimulate children’s Executive Function and Self-Regulation.

What is Executive Function?

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CiP Peer Learning in Scotland!

The Children in Permaculture partners met in Scotland, in September 2017 for a practical peer-to-peer learning experience. Each partner organised a learning experience in the outdoors for children from the local schools of Gatehouse and Twynholm.  It was an opportunity to test out activities designed within the “Children in Permaculture” curriculum and receive feedback from peers, teachers and most importantly, the children.

Activities organised by the CiP team included creating a rainwater catchment system on a greenhouse, learning about birds, storytelling and play in the forest, puppet play, making a wormery and many more. Many of the successful activities will be included in the teacher’s manual that the team is busy editing.

The event was covered by the local newspaper:

cip news article

aen CIP erasmus plus logos


Sociocracy: innovative method of group leadership


Do you want to: 

  • – Work more effectively in groups?
  • – Make better decisions together without wasting time in long unproductive meetings?
  • – Enjoy successful collaborations and partnership projects?
  • – Know your voice is valued and listened to?
  • – Involve and empower the people you work with?
  • – Get your business / NGO / community ready for a rapidly changing world?

Discover Sociocracy ~ the elegant and effective way to dynamically manage organisations ~ with international expert Rakesh Rak.


What is Sociocracy?

Read More


Workshop on Ecological Awareness for Children

In our modern era, in which technology begins attacting children’s attention from their earliest experiences, how can we support children to nurture and sustain an authentic relationship with the natural world?  This was the subject that Professor Ruai Gregory from the Blue Mountain College in Oregon addressed, in the series of workshops she held in Romania for teachers, volunteers and others working in the field of education.   It is key to the long term survival of the planet, that the new generations develop not only respect but even more importantly, a deep sense of love for nature and its resources, and this is what Professor Gregory seeks to transmit to the children she works with.

The first workshop was held on September 21, 2015 at the AMURTEL Bio Garden in Poieni, and the second one took place in Bucharest at the Morningstar Center on September 23.  Professor Gregory described the Nature Awareness Camp that she and her husband have been running for the past 15 years on the beautiful piece of property they own in the Oregon mountains.  The children learn a set of “Nature Awareness skills”, which include learning to still their bodies and minds so that they can more fully open up all of their senses to observe and thus experience nature fully.  Another important element in fostering a greater sense of connection to nature is through the process of naming. Giving names to trees, pathways, rocks personalizes the relationship. Professor Gregory says that even years later, children that have gone through her program may ask her with genuine interest and concern, “How is Grandmother Tree?” when they meet in town at the supermarket.   Professor Gregory’s approach is simple but extremely effective and full of wisdom.

Already we have been incorporating the practice of naming things at our AMURTEL Garden, and when recently a guest visited she was amazed at how big the property seems to become when it is presented in this way – with something interesting to discover in each location.


Building Nature Awareness Skills With Children, Parents and Staff

Workshop for Parents and Teachers


September 21, Poieni, jud Buzau at the AMURTEL Social Garden, 15-17 hrs.

September 23, Morningstar Center, Str. Almas 16 Sector 1 Bucharest 18.30-20.30 hrs.



discoverWe will look at ways to nurture and reinforce children’s innate sense of wonder and fascination with nature, and how best to rekindle it with adults so they can model and integrate nature awareness and appreciation in their daily work with children. Inspired by Richard Louv’s book, “Last Child in the Woods,” we will examine the needs for outdoor time and experiences with nature for healthy development in children of all ages. Practices to maximize outdoor time and bring nature indoors, in order to enhance physical, social-emotional, and cognitive growth will also be explored.


Participants will:

  • explore and practice approaches, strategies and tools that promote, nurture and reinforce children’s connection with and understanding of the natural world
  • examine and apply principles of developmentally appropriate learning environments, both inside and out, that encourage a sense of wonder
  • select and apply approaches that promote nature awareness with parents and staff

About the presenter:

Ruai Gregory, M.A., Human Development, has worked as an Early Childhood Educator since 1976. Her roles have included teacher, consultant, director, early intervention specialist, parent educator and college professor. She currently teaches Early Childhood Education at Blue Mountain Community College in northeast Oregon, USA, and is a Parent/Provider Consultant for Child Care Resource and Referral at Umatilla/Morrow Head Start. Along with her husband, Forest Gregory, she has run “Harmony Home Nature Camp” since 2000.

This course is organized by: