Place-based educationPlace-based education is connecting students to the environment where they live. There is no substitute for firsthand experience.At a time when our impacts on the environment are exponentially increasing, children are spending less time outside interacting with nature. We are fortunate at Mill Road Elementary School to have a forested area on school grounds. Years ago, a nature trail was created through this forest with stations to observe various natural phenomenon.Since the forest is an unfamiliar place to many youngsters, they need to be taught how to use their senses to experience nature. They must learn how to be observant about their surroundings. Just being still for a few minutes can help us to understand what a forest is like when no one is there. Only then can we begin to notice the bird calls, chipmunk activity, rabbits, and squirrels. Carefully lifting the boards at the forest classroom may reveal salamanders, centipedes, earthworms, crickets, and other amazing creatures which live under logs. Noticing seasonal changes in the forest and the changing cast of wild characters who use the forest for a habitat is stimulating and contributes to a child"s awareness.
Research has indicated that being out in nature also contributes to mental health and physical fitness. Above all else, children develop an appreciation for the living environment around them and why we depend on a clean and healthy ecosystem for our own well being.Nature trail