Place-Based Learning

Place-based learning is a method of practice that uses places and the resources found there to learn across disciplines. This can include a place’s cultures, history or geophysical features. With place-based learning, the hope is to foster a sense of place for individuals within their community. This practice helps encourage good citizenship and helps students understand, appreciate and care for their communities.

”It is more and more apparent that basic literacies are not enough. Students need to find ways to apply, own, and direct how literacy and problem-solving skills are used. Place-based education does this uniquely well while it builds capacity for citizenship.” – Tom Vander Ark

Some goals for place-based instruction can be:

  • Grounding the curriculum in the particular attributes of your location.
  • Using local, regional, and community places, resources, systems and themes as a context for learning.
  • Prioritizing hands-on learning. Organize a significant amount of study outside the building in school yards, at sites of regional significance and in the local community.
  • Contributing to your location’s vitality and/or environmental quality by helping students address school, site and/or community needs.
  • Instilling a respect for and love of location and community.
  • Offering a foundation for understanding and participating in regional and global issues.
  • Building relationships between schools (and other learning environments) and significant places, not-for-profits, businesses and/or government agencies.

Place-based learning is inspiring for students at any age. It can focus on a number of different fascinating topic areas and have a positive impact on communities, increase student engagement and boost academic outcomes. Here are three videos demonstrating different ways children can connect to their sense of place.

Local nature

Local Indigenous culture & history

Local history and geography

Learn more about how to incorporate place-based learning into your practice:

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