Geo-education

Connecting students to the natural world both in the classroom and outside has been happening at Bank Street for years but now that connection has an official name: Geo-education. This spring, National Geographic launched the Geo-educator Community, an intiative aimed to prepare students for the world they will inherit. In the short-term, geo-education exposes students to subjects in-school and experiences outside of school that give them information about the human and natural worlds. In the long-term, it readies people to deal with the global issues: the environment, military conflicts, depleting natural resources, and threats to the community. At the recent inaugural Teaching & Learning 2014 Conference (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards) in Washington, D.C., I was invited to present the Hudson River project as an exemplar of geo-education.
The Hudson River is close to our school and is familiar to most of the children from having lived in the city. (As with all of our studies at Bank Street, when working with young children, we begin with what is close by and accessible.) Studying a river leads naturally to learning about people, geography, topography, plants, animals, and the relationships of humankind to the world around us. From a Social Studies standpoint, rivers are at the heart of every civilization. Rivers have helped people to obtain all of their basic needs and have enabled them to create thriving civilizations. The curriculum begins with learning about the modern day river, then travels back in time to study the environment and the

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