Learning within the local community
The Center for Place–Based Education promotes learning locally in the natural, built, historic, and cultural environment. Projects and programs encourage partnerships between students, teachers, and community members that strengthen student achievement, community vitality, and a healthy environment.
What is Place-based Education?
Place–based education is the process of using the local community and environment as a starting point to teach concepts in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other concepts across the curriculum. Emphasizing hands-on, real-world learning experiences, this approach to education increases academic achievement, helps students develop stronger ties to their community, enhances students’ appreciation for the natural world, and creates a heightened commitment to serving as active, contributing citizens. Community vitality and environmental quality are improved through the active engagement of local citizens, community organizations, and environmental resources in the life of the school. (Place–based Education: Connecting Classrooms & Communities by David Sobel, 2004).
Current Projects and Activities
Our collaboration with the Colony Memorial Trust to manage the Horatio Colony Nature Preserve helps the university realize its mission. Students, faculty, and administration partner with a prominent community organization to apply our belief in ecological stewardship and place–based practices for scholarship, activism, and service-learning. The partnership was established in 1987 and is still going strong.
The Monadnock Region Place–based Education Committee formed in 2014 with the express purpose of promoting the integration of nature study and civic engagement in Pre-Kindergarten to grade 12 classrooms. The committee was self-organized around a concern that students were less engaged in learning because it did not include enough time outdoors or enough time tackling authentic local issues. Committee members include teachers from five school districts, local non-profit leaders, and representatives from area universities. The committee’s primary purpose is to increase the use of place–based education in the region, identifying an ongoing need to introduce new teachers to place–based education and to continually enhance and update the skills of experienced teachers. A representative from the Center for Place–based Education sits on the committee and Antioch University New England is a partner in proposal writing and program development to meet the committee’s mission.