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Place-based Education (PBE):

  • Immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences;
  • Uses these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum; and
  • Emphasizes learning through participation in service projects for the local school and/or community.

Stories From the Field:
Place-based education in action

Student with Chicken Chickens in the Classroom

An educator was teaching first graders a lesson about chickens when something unexpected—and extraordinary—happened: a little chicken leapt across a cultural divide.

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Research and Evaluation:
Making the case for place-based education

Benefits of Place-based Education cover image Highlighted Reports

  • Benefits of Place-based Education
  • Closing the Achievement Gap
  • Quantifying a Relationship Between Place-Based Learning and Environmental Quality
  • Benefits of Nature for Children's Health, Fact Sheet #1
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The Network:
Place-based education in your community and around the world

Shelburne Farms Shelburne Farms

Shelburne Farms is an environmental education center, 1,400-acre working farm, and National Historic Landmark. Our mission is to cultivate a conservation ethic by teaching and demonstrating the stewardship of natural and agricultural resources.

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Learning to Make Choices for the Future cover imageRevised and updated Learning to Make Choices for the Future PBE Manual now available!


Project Seasons for Early Childhood Educators: Cultivating Joy and Wonder

Monday, July 11, 2016 to Thursday, July 14, 2016; 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Enrich your early childhood curriculum using the lens of sustainability. The four days will be rich with opportunities to look at your present curriculum with sustainability in mind, and acquire new activities that are interdisciplinary and hands on. The Farm is our classroom as we explore ways to help young learners make connections in the natural and agricultural worlds.

In Bloom in Vermont: Promising Practices in Nature-Based Early Childhood Education

Monday, June 13, 2016, 8:30am - 4:00pm
One in a series of conferences presented by Antioch University New England (link is external) addressing topics such as risk management, designing natural play areas, integrating gardening into the curriculum, using natural elements to explore rhythm, and much more. Sponsors: Shelburne Farms, Four Winds Nature Institute

Watershed for Every Classroom

Various dates in July and October, 2016; February and May, 2017
Watershed for Every Classroom (WEC) is a year-long professional development experience for K-12 educators in the Lake Champlain Basin of Vermont, New York and Québec, brought to you by CBEI - the Champlain Basin Education Initiative. Explore and immerse yourself in the watershed - whether by foot or by long boat, in waders or in muck boots. We'll get you out into the streams, rivers, and Lake Champlain to deeply understand watershed issues and opportunities to enrich your curriculum. Past participants have noted that “it's like camp for teachers!” Place-based learning offers teachers inspiration, knowledge and skills to frame exciting learning for your students. You'll learn from experts in the field of water quality, botany, biology, history, and so much more. We'll dive into the essential teaching practices of place-based learning including service-learning, project-based learning, STEM education, and more! Join a peer network of like minded educators for a great year of new discoveries, making connections, and having FUN! The year long program kicks off with a week-long summer intensive, July 11-15th (one overnight in the Adirondacks required that week). The program continues with the following dates over the 2016-17 school year: October 14-15, 2016 January 27, 2017 March 18, 2017 May 12-13, 2017

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James River Study

Students from six high schools in a South Dakota watershed conduct water quality tests along the James River and electronically share data with each other, university students, and with local and state agencies. University students post questions for students to research. Students conduct a fish survey, study the Native American heritage of the river, and learn water resources issues.

Roncalli High School
Aberdeen, SD

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