Capstone/Dissertation Title

Toward a sense of place: a historical case study of the Polky Farm

Term

2009

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAED: NSEE

Abstract

There is ample research available to suggest that children's health, environmental health, and community vitality are intimately linked, and ultimately depend upon our children's connection to their local environment and communities -- their sense of place. Through a case study that is both historical research and personal family memoir, the former Polky family farm in Spruce Head, Maine was examined as a historical environmental learning environment for children. The study aimed to identify aspects of childhood that led to the development of a sense of place. Results suggested that a sense of place can be fostered through, 1) regular opportunities for child-initiated play in the local outdoor environment, and 2) opportunities for meaningful work that contributes to the local community and environment. Practical implications for new approaches to K-12 education, such as place-based, community-based, and environment-based education, are discussed.

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