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Integrating with Local Schools

Schools are integral to the PLACE Program, and should be incorporated at each stage of the community engagement process. They are a wellspring of local expertise and energy, and institutions that unite the community. Kids are future decision makers, landowners, and investors in the fabric of a community. Yet children can also actively engage in their community as youth. The PLACE Program works with teachers to provide opportunities for students to explore and learn about their community through the lenses of cultural and natural history, and promotes active community engagement by students as well.

The program encourages teachers to ask: What are the opportunities to connect my teaching to the local community? What town resources are available? How can my students become engaged in their everyday surroundings in ways that help them feel a sense of ownership and pride in their community?

Often teachers live in a different town than the one they teach in. PLACE program community walks and presentations allow educators the opportunity to engage in and explore the home of the students with whom they spend everyday. The PLACE program also strives to connect teachers with local experts – a plant or wildlife expert, historian or elder that can then become integrated into their teaching year after year. Additionally, Place-Based Education professional development opportunities offered through the PLACE Program give teachers the tools and context to promote utilizing the community when they teach. Both students and teachers are brought into the PLACE program at every stage: teachers attending professional development workshops and both students and teachers participating on the PLACE program steering committee, and attending presentations and field trips. Students and teachers themselves can also create a wide variety of community based learning activities and initiatives.

See these case studies for examples of how the PLACE Program has integrated with local schools:

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