The best hope for learning to live sustainably lies in schooling that is "smart by nature." It includes experiencing the natural world; learning how nature sustains life; nurturing healthy communities; recognizing the implications of the ways we feed and provision ourselves; and knowing well the places where we live, work, and learn.  Teachers are in a prime position to be able to weave these basics throughout the curriculum at every grade level. 

Whether they start with an environmental issue or with fundamental ecological principles, teachers can nurture the knowledge, skills, and values essential to sustainable living.

A variety of teaching strategies are particularly appropriate for fostering sustainable living. We promote interdisciplinary instructional methods that are age-level appropriate; actively engage students in learning in and out of the classroom; involve them in long-term projects; and create an atmosphere of purposeful conversation and reflection about complex issues.

Instructional Tools

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The Center for Ecoliteracy provides a variety of instructional tools to assist teachers as they plan and implement sustainable curriculum. Many are available throughout this website. They include books, discussion guides, resource listings, lessons, professional development seminars, and other events designed for educators.
Students conduct an experiment to examine possible impacts on ecosystems of climate change and nutrients added by human activity.
Project-based learning in which students assess their community's ability to respond to crises and develop ideas for making it more resilient.


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The Center for Ecoliteracy promotes a variety of teaching strategies, based on practices matched to students' levels of development and on brain-based research, to foster the knowledge, skills, and values essential to sustainable living.
Place-based Learning
Place-based learning captures students' imaginations and advances environmental stewardship and civic engagement.
Project-based Learning
Project-based learning organizes learning around student actions that make a difference.

Philosophical Grounding

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The Center's vision is grounded in the principles and processes by which nature sustains life, a systems perspective for understanding relationship and context, and competencies that will identify the graduates of successful schooling for sustainability programs.
Core Ecological Concepts
Core ecological knowledge for creating communities whose practices are compatible with nature's processes.
A Systems Perspective
A new way of thinking supports understanding the complexity of the world.
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Center for Ecoliteracy. All rights reserved.