The Big Plan – eBook


Heather Simmons and Steve Coulson  developed The Big Plan: A Good Life After School inspired by and modeled on the work of Connie Lyle O’Brien & Beth Mount with the PathFinders Project in New York City.  It is Person Centered Planning – with a group.  A powerful strategy that engages families and friends in shared learning seminars that have powerful impacts.

Heather is made a powerful contribution with her “Values of Inclusion” video.

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big plan excerpt

The Big Plan: A Good Life After School describes the vibrant experience in Scotland and England, of an approach that engages young people and their families in large groups to plan full lives. It is inspired by and modeled on the work of Connie Lyle O’Brien & Beth Mount with the PathFinders Project in New York City. Students and their families and supporters come together over a series of weeks and engage in person centered planning with their circles of support, through a series of guided conversations and reflections.

Connie described the PathFinders experience as a process of “self – efficacy” whereby students and families recognized and respected each other’s strengths and gifts, growing in confidence and self-esteem as a result. In Implementing Person Centered Planning: Voices of Experience, edited by John O’Brien and Connie Lyle O’Brien, several chapters are devoted to the group person centered planning process and the experience of Pathfinders in New York.

The Big Plan is the rich story from the perspective of Heather Simmons and Stephen Coulson of their Scottish/English derivation of the Pathfinders approach, featuring stories of how the families worked, learned and began to create new lives together, including the process facilitators’ reflections on their powerful learning and experience along the way.


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