Students participating in place-based education often show more enthusiasm for learning because it is more relevant to their daily life, their home, and community. Students often exhibit:
- Higher scores on standardized measures of academic achievement (reading, writing, math, science, social studies, GPA)
- Improved behavior in class, greater pride and ownership in their accomplishments; increases in self-esteem, conflict resolution, problem solving
- Higher-level thinking skills
“One thing we know is that kids’ writing is much more interesting, complex, and detailed if they’ve had rich experience…The current first grade has about a third of the kids who didn’t have Kindergarten here and in general it is breathtaking the difference in the academic achievement.”
Teachers who practice place-based education:
- become more excited and motivated to develop curriculum, more likely to use local resources for teaching and learning, and are more engaged with students
- Collaborate more effectively with other educators and
- Experience professional growth and show greater desire to take additional place-based education training
School and Community Improvement
Place-based education initiatives bring life to classrooms and communities. The results are visible and diverse. Children create schoolyard gardens, improve wildlife habitat, design and build walking trails through public parks, celebrate their cultural heritage in public presentations and published books, mentor younger students, and help community elders and local organizations.
Key Research and Findings
- Athman, Julie and Monroe, Martha, 2004. Julie and Monroe, Martha, 2004. The Effects of Environment-Based Education on Students’ Achievement Motivation. Journal of Interpretation Research, 9(1):9-25.
- Chawla, Louise, 2007. Student Gains from Place-based Education. Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design.
- Chawla, Louise. 2007. Benefits of nature for children's health.Children,Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design.
- Duffin, Micahael and PEER Associates, 2006. Why Use Place-Based Education in Your School? Four Answers that Emerge from the Findings of PEEC, the Place-based Education Evaluation Collaborative.
- Ernst, Julie Athman and Monroe, Martha, 2004. The effect of environment-based education on students' critical thinking skills and disposition towards critical thinking.Environment Education Research, 10(4): 507-522.
- Falco, Edward H. 2004. Environment-based Education: Improving Attitudes and Academics for Adolescents. Evaluation report for South Carolina Department of Education.
- Liebermann, Gerald A. and Hoody, Linda 1998. Closing the Achievement Gap: Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning State Education and Environment Roundtable.
- National Environmental Education Training Foundation (NEETF), 2000. Environment-Based Education: Creating High Performance Schools and Students. Washington, DC.
- Place-based Education Collaborative (PEEC), 2008. The Benefits of Place-based Education. Warner, NH. www.peecworks.org
- Rosenthal, Jennifer 2008. Place-based Education Research and Studies. Annotated bibliography. Doctoral Student, Curriculum & Instruction, SUNY at Albany, NY
- Semken, S. Journal of Geoscience Education. 2005. Sense of place and place-based introductory geoscience: teaching for American Indian and Alaskan Native undergraduates.
- State Education and Environment Roundtable (SEER). 2000. California Student Assessment Project: The Effects of Environment-Based Education on Student Achievement.
- American Institutes of Research, 2005. Effects of Outdoor Education Programs for Children in California.
- They Remember What They Touch: The Impact of Place-Based Learning in East Feliciana Parish. Rural School and Community Trust.