May 10th, 2010

Sustainability Education in K-12 Classrooms

By Wendy Church and Laura Skelton


The national focus in K-12 education currently is on core subject mastery and testing; this is a tough environment in which to instill and expand sustainability education.  Even those educators committed to sustainability education often have difficulty finding ways to incorporate what is considered by many to be ‘add-on’ material.  Nevertheless our experience shows that educating for sustainability can be and is implemented effectively in virtually all kinds of K-12 classrooms by using one of four general approaches.  This article includes descriptions and examples of these approaches, provides a summary of benefits of sustainability education, and gives an overview of sustainability education in the U.S.  Included are results from several of our studies conducted on the use of sustainability education.  A list of K-12 sustainability education resources is provided at the end of the article.

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Comments (2)

  1. Koh Ming Wei Koh Ming Wei says:

    I started my own one room school house – Hawaii Sustainable Education Initiative.
    Sustainability education is the CORE of the curriculum and programming.
    I am so fulfilled as an educator and person teaching and learning here.
    HOWEVER, the most unsustainable part about starting your own school is how difficult it is to fund.
    Many administrators at schools (here) reason that they can NOT incorporate and add-on Sustainability education because it is not affordable.
    I struggle with this daily.

  2. Wendy says:

    This is a problem for a lot of educators. We’re aware of it, and we offer a number of free downloadable activity and standards-based lessons as well as 1-2 week curriculum units on our website, Go to the “Curriculum” section and you will find a variety of free materials.