When “place-based education” was coined back in the early 1990s by Laurie Lane-Zucker of The Orion Society and Dr. John Elder of Middlebury College, ground had already been broken for our campus here in Estes Park, Colo.
And when author and American educator David Sobel — credited with developing the philosophy of place-based education — wrote Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities in 2004, we here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, were 10-plus years into our use of place-based education as a pedagogy used in the progressive effort to reengage youth in their own education.
It’s no wonder then that a number of recent publications have cited our unique school and professional development center with regard to the advancement of place-based education.
Understanding Place-based Education
In the simplest of terms, the idea of place-based education revolves around connecting learning to a student’s surroundings. In the case of our school, that notion encompasses our classrooms, meeting halls, living quarters, and thousands upon thousands of acres that surround our campus, snuggled up to the Rocky Mountain National Park.
The challenge for our instructional specialists is to turn the surrounding towns, parks, buildings and history into myriad lessons of learning, building and nourishing pride in the communities in which our students find themselves. It is a directive that asks our student body to focus on real issues within the places where they learn, travel through, and live.
At its core, place-based learning connects students to Continue reading…