Place- and community-based education -- an approach to teaching and learning that starts with the local -- addresses two critical gaps in the experience of many children now growing up in the United States: contact with the natural world and contact with community. It offers a way to extend young people's attention beyond the classroom to the world as it actually is, and to engage them in the process of devising solutions to the social and environmental problems they will confront as adults. This approach can increase students' engagement with learning and enhance their academic achievement. Envisioned as a primer and guide for educators and members of the public interested in incorporating the local into schools in their own communities, this book explains the purpose and nature of place- and community-based education and provides multiple examples of its practice. The detailed descriptions of learning experiences set both within and beyond the classroom will help readers begin the process of advocating for or incorporating local content and experiences into their schools.
Gregory Smith is Professor in the Graduate School of Education and Counseling at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. He speaks nationally and internationally about place- and community-based education and is involved with efforts in schools in the Pacific Northwest to adopt this approach to teaching and learning. David Sobel is Director of Teacher Certification Programs in the Education Department of Antioch University New England in Keene, NH. He consults and speaks widely on developmentally appropriate teaching, environmental education, and parenting with nature.