Storied coast: experiencing, understanding, and fostering a nature-based curriculum




Miller, Sarah C.

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Environmental education continues to generate interest from parents, educators, and researchers, as the deficits linked to limited time in nature combined with the benefits associated with outdoor learning experiences have led to increased research and understanding. This paper reviews the academic literature in the fields of the learning environment, place-based education, outdoor and nature-based learning, experiential learning, and the process of story and meaning-making with school-age children. Correlations between meaningful and recursive nature-based learning opportunities and the formation of student identity, sense of belonging, personal and shared narratives, future environmental activism, and overall well-being will be reviewed. Specifically, examples which demonstrate how the local environment impacts and becomes an integral part of land-based narratives is considered, as the layers of ecological, cultural, and personal understanding become intertwined. Experiential learning opportunities through which school-age children were able to explore specific concepts through play and exploration, engage personally and responsibly with ecosystems, and participate in creative ways revealed the greatest impacts on learning. The culminating project is built on this foundation, exploring avenues for building stories, connections, and ecological understanding through nature-based learning experiences.



experiential learning, outdoor education, nature-based learning, place-based education, story-telling, Indigenous education, ecopedagogy, environmental education