Place-Based Education

Connecting Classrooms and Communities

David Sobel

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Quick Look

  • A comprehensive overview of the theory and current best practice of learning in real-world settings
  • Offers practical examples and step-by-step strategies

A comprehensive overview of the theory and current best practice of experiential, place-based education, which advocates learning in real-world settings.

214 x 138 mm
Steiner-Waldorf Education;
156 pages
Publication date:
19 Jan 2017


Place-based education has a simple proposition: bring education back into the neighbourhood. It's about children being out and about, learning in context and through real-world settings.

One class might be in a local wood with a forester teaching them which trees should be marked for a thinning project. In the town, another class is collecting water samples from an urban stream to determine if there's enough dissolved oxygen to support reintroduced trout. On the school grounds, another class is sitting on benches writing poems, while another group works with a landscape architect and maths teacher to create a map that will be used to plan the school garden. Inside, older children are working with younger children to learn about the history of the local Polish population.

All of these children are engaged in place-based education, both in rural and urban settings. This book represents a comprehensive review of place-based education, its theory and its practice. It draws on academic research, practical examples and step-by-step strategies taken from a variety of classrooms. David Sobel, an expert in the field, argues for the local community and environment as the starting place for curriculum learning, strengthening community bonds, appreciation for the natural world, and a commitment to citizen engagement.

Table of Contents

Something's Happening Here
Distance from Beauty
Reconceptualising Environmental Education
Out Behind Taco Bell
New Directions in School Reform
What Research Says: How Place-Based Education Increases Academic Achievement
Building a Three-Legged Stool of Academic Achievement, Social Capital and Environmental Quality
Sowing Seeds
Creating Place-Based Schools: Core Strategies
Classroom Walls Opening Wide
Notes from the Field


David Sobel is a senior faculty member in the Education Department at Antioch University in New Hampshire, USA. He consults and speaks widely on child development and place-based education for schools and other organisations. He is the author of several books and many articles on the subject of children and nature.

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