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Preserve Hosts Place Based Education Workshop

On February 23rd, 2017 fourteen primary school teachers representing thirteen Primary schools on Eleuthera came to the Levy Preserve to take part in a professional development exercise designed to help them implement ‘Placed Based Education’ strategies in their teaching.  The term Placed-Based Education was coined in the 1990’s to refer to an educational approach where students’ surroundings are a primary resource for learning. The Preserve was selected for the workshop as it provides endless opportunities to explore and opportunities to connect to place. Additionally by using the Preserve, it is hoped that the teachers would be inspired to use the Preserve as a resource for teaching their everyday lessons.

Dr. Jill Reich & Dr. Mara Tieken from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine facilitated the workshop in coordination with the District Education Officer for Eleuthera, Ms. Helen Simmons-Johnson and Levy Preserve Staff. Pineapple Fields, neighbors of The Preserve, provided support for the day’s activities.

The workshop began with an ice breaker and an overview of the goals for the day. Dr. Tieken and Reich designed the activities to demonstrate that the same place, The Preserve, could be used to teach a variety of key subject areas ranging from Math, Language Arts, and Science to Social Studies. The teachers were split into these four subject areas and asked think like and act like a third grader while completing specific tasks and answering questions on a 45 minute tour of the Levy Preserve.  After the tour the teachers shared their results with the rest of the group.  The workshop wrapped up with a presentation by Mrs. Katie Bauer, Principal of Deep Creek Middle School who shared how she and the teaching staff at the middle school use ‘Place Based Education’ strategies and displayed examples of their projects.