Why Place-Based Education

Teaching & learning philosophy

Place-based education is a teaching and learning process that engages learners in local heritage, cultural landscapes, opportunities, issues and experiences so learning is more meaningful and relevant to students.

Place-based education is accomplished through project/theme-based, active hands-on investigating of local issues and their causes.  Learning alongside community members while completing place-based service-learning projects fosters informed citizenship in students.

Place-based education helps students learn to take care of the world by understanding where they live and taking action in their own backyards and communities.1

So when you ask “Why Place-based Education?”

Research shows place-based education…

  • helps students learn
  • energizes teachers
  • encourages active citizenship
  • transforms school culture
  • connects schools and communities

1 Place-based Education Evaluation Collaborative, 2010.  The Benefits of Place-based Education:  A report from the Place-based Education Evaluation Collaborative (second Edition).  Retrieved January 30, 2014 from http://tinyurl.com/PEECBrochure.

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Academic Service Learning (ASL)

Academic service learning takes service learning further, by tying it to an educational construct by: developing 21sth century skills; applying concepts to broader topics; and integrating curriculum.


Service Learning

Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction in academic content and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities (Learn and Serve America National Service Learning Clearinghouse)


Community Service

Community service is performed by individuals or a group of people, usually geared toward the benefit of the public or public institutions.

Recommended Websites


Groundswell Logo

Groundswell is a coalition of community partners that creates opportunities for hands-on environmental learning for students throughout Kent County, MI.

Visit Groundswell
Great Lakes Stewardship


The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI) was launched in 2007 to develop knowledgeable and active stewards of the Great Lakes through hands-on learning in the community.

Visit Great Lakes Stewardship
National Youth Leadership Council

nylc logo 3

Our mission: To create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world with young people, their schools, and their communities through service-learning.

Visit National Youth Leadership Council
Promise of Place

promise of place

Place-based education (PBE) immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, using these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum.

Visit Promise of Place


The Center for Ecoliteracy is a nonprofit that advances ecological education in K–12 schools. We recognize that students need to experience and understand how nature sustains life and how to live accordingly.

Visit EcoLiteracy
Learning to Give

learning to give logo

Free teaching resources that educate K-12 students as philanthropists who give time, talent, or treasure for the common goo

Visit Learning to Give