Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Education for Sustainability

The Farm Barn, Shelburne Farms

At the end of July I was delighted to head up to Shelburne Farms in scenic Vermont to attend the Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability. For four days I examined the third grade social studies curriculum through the lens of sustainability. I adapted lessons and projects to investigate how "natural and human communities together make up one's place." In small groups comprised of educators from all over the country, we challenged each other to think simpler, to plan more time outside, to use culminating projects to also positively affect our school communities. Local experts discussed outdoor classrooms, emerging Maker Spaces in Vermont, and cooking with children. We made butter by shaking up heavy cream in a jar. We visited farm animals and discussed concepts of interdependence and systems. We played a version of hide-and-go-seek in the vegetable garden. Upon reflecting on the experience I realized that being in such a beautiful and simple place had the biggest impact on me. I returned to Virginia encouraged to foster a deeper understanding of our places, how our environment impacts us and how we impact our environments. 

The Coach Barn, home to the Institute

Fresh cheese and flowers from the Market Garden

I helped shake and make butter!
In the outdoor maker space, we turned these materials...
...into a stove ideal for marshmallow roasting! 
My workspace



Piglets! They were less than one day old. 
Sunset on Lake Champlain

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