As David Sobel states right up front in the preface of his book,
Place- and Community-Based Education in Schools,
this approach, connecting teaching and learning to the local, has become an antidote to a serious dilemma in American education: the alienation of children from the real world right outside their homes and classrooms. (Sobel, xi). Currently, even young students are caught up in our device-laden world and missing the delicate natural world that supports us, making it difficult for them to be invested in the state of their community. This approach provides a way for teachers and communities to prepare children to participate as problem solvers in their futures as they develop an appreciation and authentic connection to the evolving history of their region.
Through this approach teacher and students become co-investigators of issues and concerns and students take responsibility for their learning. Teachers assemble materials, human resources, and outside-of-classroom experiences to serve as the foundation for student learning and engagement.
An essential activity for this curriculum unit requires that students get out into the community to experience, with a new lens, where they live.