HOUSTON, TX "Integrated" or "interdisciplinary" education evolved in the United States from the progressive education movement of the early 20th century. Integrated education features a student-centered approach to teaching that engages students and teachers as co-planners of learning experiences.
In the early 21st century, American educators are being challenged to incorporate integrated curriculum strategies into primary and secondary schools while satisfying ever-stricter national and state educational standards. Controversies in many American school systems now focus on access to meaningful learning experiences to help students keep up with academic standards and perform well on exams, the primary form of standardized measurement.
Environmental education, defined as any educational activity that had a goal of producing citizens who had knowledge of the environment and its problems, as well as a motivation to solve those problems, is rooted in integrated education. It has become a popular and relevant addition to K-12 classrooms throughout the world. One example of an integrated environmental curriculum used in K-12 schools is the National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) Schoolyard Habitat Program (SYHP). The SYHP grew out of an already existing NWF program called the Backyard Wildlife Habitat program that fostered the creation of backyard wildlife habitats by private landowners. In the SYHP, backyard wildlife habitats must also be used as an educational teaching resource.
The ultimate purpose of the SYHP was to connect students, teachers, schools, community, wildlife, and the local environment. SYHP gave teachers opportunities to offer powerful learning tools to improve students' environmental and ecological literacy in addition to the basic principles of core academic subjects. The goal of the SYHP was to create a cross-curricular learning environment while teaching about wildlife habitat and conservation.
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|Contact: Michael W. Neff|
American Society for Horticultural Science