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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.


Dane County Cultural Tour 2002

Fourth and fifth grade students spent a year studying the cultural history of Dane County, Wisconsin. The student-driven project culminated in a four day, 370 mile road trip of the county. They visited a cheese factory, a Cambodian Buddhist temple, three farms, and a fiddle maker. They also interviewed folk artists, musicians, and community historians. An impressive collection of projects like this, including student work and curricula, can be found at the Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture website.

Randall Elementary School
Madison, Wisconsin

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