Book review: Creative Place-Based Environmental Education
By Jorunn Barane, Askel Hugo and Morten Clemetsen
In his forward to "Creative Place-Based Environmental Education," Prescott College Professor Doug Hulmes recounts how he gained deepened insight into the way place-based stories can expand our understanding when on a "storying wander" in Norway with the three authors of this book.
The stories, told by the accomplished storytellers who accompanied the group, provided a window into the lives of people there generations before them, people who sometimes saw the same place in quite different ways.
He goes on to say that in this book, “the authors hope to share ways that teachers, students, storytellers, entrepreneurs, farmers, children, refugees, and people with special needs can come together through a carefully designed and meaningful curriculum based on gardening and local agriculture,” and that “this can greatly enhance what has been taught in our schools and separated into subjects that are too often disconnected and lack relevance.”
And indeed this is a remarkable and important book, especially for today’s world, where too many of our children grow up without much connection to the place that sustains them.
While this disconnection might be somewhat less the case here in Prescott, the rules for what constitutes education comes top down from cities far away. The book seeks to find a common ground so that standards coming from the top can be enriched by “information, experience, wisdom, and creativity from the local and regional” communities.
The authors engage readers with colorful stories and examples, mixed occasionally with educational theory, followed by clear and practical suggestions for those actually planning curricula for children for 4 to 18 in programs that might occur in drastically different settings and circumstances.
Doug Hulmes will be at the Peregrine Book Company to talk about this book on Thursday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m.