The power of place is not lost on me. Thinking back to my days as a student in elementary and high school, some of my fondest memories are of learning experiences that occurred outside of our classroom and school. In elementary school, I remember trips to a local farm, a dairy market, and other local businesses and our excitement for learning outside of our classroom in the real world. As high school students we had similar experiences, visiting local nursing homes, restaurants, and community spaces where we could learn about different types of work and even participate in activities to experience more. Opportunities like this were so much more meaningful and enabled us to view life beyond our classroom and see how what we were learning applied to daily life.

I have been following the place-based education (PBE) series on Getting Smart and have been looking forward to reading The Power of Place: Authentic Learning Through Place-Based Education, the new book by Tom Vander Ark, Emily Liebtag, and Nate McClennen. Beyond what I already understood about PBE, I have a greater understanding of why we need to do more of this in our schools today.

The Power of Place presents a thorough resource full of everything that educators (regardless of role and experience), as well as community members, need to get started with PBE. What struck me immediately was the intentional focus on the “why.” It is always such an important place to start with anything. What is the purpose, why does it matter, and how will it make a difference? The Power of Place starts with each author sharing their personal and authentic connections to place, why it matters and what they learned as a result.

Read the full review of Tom Vander Ark, Emily Liebtag, and Nate McClennen's The Power Of Place by Rachelle Dene Poth at Getting Smart.