The Center for Place-Based Education

Children and Terrarium

The Center for Place-Based Education (formerly the Center for Environmental Education) promotes community-based education programs. Its projects and programs encourage partnerships between students, teachers, and community members that strengthen and support student achievement, community vitality, and a healthy environment.

We believe that the places we live can serve as wonderful, meaningful sources for inspiration, education, and life-long learning, and also a springboard for understanding our global community.

What is Place-based Education?

StudentPlace-based education focuses learning within the local community of a student. It provides learners with a path for becoming active citizens and stewards of the environment and place where they live. The resources of the community are brought into the learning process in a way that makes education exciting. The approach emphasizes hands-on, real world learning experiences that challenge students to learn and solve problems. It increases academic achievement, helps students develop stronger ties to their community, enhances student’s appreciation for the natural world, and creates a heightened commitment for serving as contributing citizens. Community vitality and environmental quality are enhanced as local citizens, organizations and environmental resources are woven into the process of educating its citizens.

What is Service-learning?

Students and Staff working on Horatio Colony cabin

Service-learning integrates school or place-based projects with academic skills and content. It provides students the opportunity to use school knowledge to solve real-world problems. In service-learning, students work on projects directly relevant to their class curriculum. They also work with the recipients of service to define meaningful solutions to the problem, plan the actions which need to be taken, and implement the solutions which they have planned. As a result students complete service projects which provide greater depth to school curriculum and come away with the experience of solving locally relevant issues.