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What is Place-Based Education?

Place-based education (PBE) immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, using these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum. PBE emphasizes learning through participation in service projects for the local school and/or community.

Research has shown that well-designed initiatives can achieve the goals outlined below. Learn more about the principles of the place-based education and answers to frequently asked questions.

Place-based Education Goals

Place-based education can "feed three birds with the same seed" as it addresses the integrated goals of:

Student Achievement

PBE boosts students' engagement, academic achievement, and sense of personal efficacy as stewards of their local environment and community. It also can re-energize teachers.

Community Social and Economic Vitality

PBE forges strong ties between local social and environmental organizations and their constituencies in the schools and community, which helps to improve quality of life and economic vitality.

Ecological Integrity

Through project-based learning, students make tangible contributions to resolving local environmental issues and conserving local environmental quality.


Reading the Forested Landscape

Eighth graders explore the community and land surrounding their school to uncover clues to human land use over the past 300 years. Students create a series of "Quests," self-guided treasure hunts that take followers on an educational tour of local points of interest. The Quests are published in a student-designed booklet and on the web, so that they can be used by families for years to come.

The Compass School
Westminster Station, VT

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