NS SS 255 - Environmental Education: Elementary School Outreach  


In this course students are are trained to teach two nationally acclaimed environmental education curricula: 4-Winds and Project Seasons. This course will include both lecture, visits from seasoned practitioners and designers of environment education programs, and site visits to diverse environmental education programs. Readings and discussion will focus on the history, theory, philosophy, and future of environmental education. The final project for the course is to design and implement a half day environmental education program for the Craftsbury Elementary School.

NS/SS256: Environmental Education: an Elementary Outreach
(Updated: Spring 2012)

Instructors:        Allison VanAkkeren 586-7711 x162        avanakkeren@sterlingcollege.edu

Credits:                 3 credits

Prerequisites:     Sense of Place, Ecology or Natural History of the North Woods, or permission of the instructor

Required Texts:

Lingelbach, Jenepher and Lisa Purcell Hands on Nature
The Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences. 2000.

Orr, David W. Earth in Mind. Island Press. 2004.

Saylan, Charles and Blumstein, Daniel The Failure of
Environmental Education (And How We Can Fix It), 2011

Readings on Reserve:

Bowers, C.A. Educating for an Ecologically Sustainable
State University of New York Press. 1995.

Parrella, Deborah and Cat Bowman Smith. Project Seasons.
Shelburne Farms. 1995.

Van Matre, Steve. Earth Education: a New Beginning.
The Institute for Earth Education. 1990.

Young, John. Coyote’s Guide to Mentoring with Nature, Owl Link
Media, 2009.

Sobel, D. Beyond Ecophobia

Orr David, W. Ecological Literacy, Island Press.

Other selective readings including authors such as Nixon (How
Nature shapes Childhood), Brown (Inquiry Learning), Caduto
(Values Education), Smith (Going Local) and Sobel (Placed Based

This course includes in-class discussions and lectures, training sessions led by Four Winds environmental education practitioners, guest lecturers, and hands-on experience creating and teaching
environmental education curricula to local elementary school students.

Course Goals:
To provide students with training and teaching experience in environmental education, as well as a working knowledge of the history and theory of the field. This course will prepare students who may want to work in settings such as camps, nature centers, classroom, parks, on farms, or “Farm to School” settings.

Course Objectives:
  • Attend multiple training sessions led by Four Winds Environmental Education practitioners.
  • Gain experience teaching the Hands on Nature environmental education curricula to local elementary school students.
  • Create and teach farm-based education programs to local elementary school students inspired by the Project Seasons curriculum designed by Shelburne farms.
  • Meet in a classroom setting to plan and debrief teaching experiences
  • Meet professionals in the field to learn about a diverse range of environmental education programs.
  • Explore the history, theory, and philosophies of environmental education. 

Through readings, discussions, and student presentations we will:
  • Track and appreciate the history of EE
  • Explore definitions of EE and closely related fields
  • Examine our own histories and personal commitments to EE
  • Investigate the goals and guidelines that drive EE instruction
  • Explore emerging trends in EE theory