by Caroline Cook
One theme from the conference that surfaced again and again was the “sense of place” that we seek to develop in our children, and how the nature we grow up with shapes our values and character throughout our lives.
What, exactly, is a sense of place? Anthropologists, geographers, historians, and other social scientists have different definitions, but in general, a sense of place involves a connection to the land that involves both knowledge and emotion, and connects to the environment’s cultural history as well as its nature.
Our classroom already values place-based education; our daily observations and experiences in the park frame our literacy, math, and science curriculum. However, this year, I want to be more intentional about teaching my students that the Mercer Slough, specifically, is a special place.
Here are some changes we’re making to our curriculum:
I’m excited- as a transplant to Washington, I’ve been hoping to develop a deeper connection to Washington’s natural and cultural history, and now I have an excuse to be more intentional about it! Do you have special teaching practices that help children develop a sense of place? Please share them in the comments!