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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.

Vignette

Montana's Forest for Every Classroom

A Place-Based Professional Development Workshop Series “Public lands have tremendous potential to contribute to education and quality of life in our communities. If we can get young people thinking about not only the future of their parks and forests but also the future of their local communities, that’s the beginning of lifelong learning, and it is also cultivating stewardship.” Nora Mitchell, Director, Conservation Study Institute. A Common Vision Today’s students will become responsible citizens if they understand the places in which they live, and if they have educational opportunities based on real life issues that encourage them to be stewards of their own communities. Inspired by a common vision of students learning from and caring for public lands, the Helena National Forest, Montana Discovery Foundation, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and the Elkhorns Working Group have joined efforts to create A Forest for Every Classroom (FFEC). FFEC is a professional development program for educators focused on place-based education. Teachers who participate in FFEC develop curriculum that foster student understanding of and appreciation for the public lands in their communities. The teacher-developed curricula integate hands-on natural and cultural exlplorations that address concepts in ecology, sense of place, stewards, and civics. At the heart of the FFEC program is the belief that students who are immersed in the interdisciplinary study of “place” are more eager to learn and be involved in the stewardhip of their communities and public lands.


Helena, Montana


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