Laryssa Fortier, a fourth grade teacher at The Riverside School, has been accepted to participate in the year-long “A Forest for Every Classroom: Learning to Make Choices for the Future (FFEC)”, an award-winning professional development program for K-12 teachers of all disciplines, offering stimulating, thought-provoking experiences designed to refresh the mind and passion for teaching.
Across habitats and through the seasons, educators will learn how to “read”—and teach—in the landscapes of Vermont from some of the best education and natural resource professionals in the state. They will explore how using place-based learning and education for sustainability make current academic and science standards more practical and meaningful.
“I was drawn to The Riverside School because of their emphasis on place-based, hands-on learning focused on students becoming engaged and responsible citizens, especially when it comes to environmental sustainability,” said Fortier. “I am grateful for this opportunity to explore ways to further utilize the incredible natural resources we have within our community and to develop in young people the passion needed to make an impact on our school, our community, and the world.”
Throughout the course, participants will be asked to apply their learning in the classroom, and share and reflect on their experiences with their fellow course mates. Educators may earn up to five graduate credits from Castleton State University for the successful completion of the Forest for Every Classroom program.
FFEC is based on an approach to teaching and learning called place-based education (PBE). PBE helps students learn about and connect to their place through real-world field experiences and on-going classroom work.
“Over the course of the year, participants will integrate hands-on natural and cultural explorations into curriculum to address concepts in ecology, sense of place, stewardship, and civics,” said Joan Haley, Director of Partner Education Programs at Shelburne Farms and a member of the Forest for Every Classroom Planning Tem. “At the heart of FFEC is the belief that students who are immersed in the interdisciplinary study of their place will be more eager to learn about and be involved in the stewardship of their communities and surrounding lands.”
FFEC is offered in partnership with Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Shelburne Farms, Green Mountain National Forest, and the Stewardship Institute.
Fortier, a first-year teacher at Riverside, received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Keene State College. When not at school, you can find her spending time outside either horseback riding, hiking with her dog Max, mountain biking, and swimming. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and cooking.
The Riverside School is a diverse independent school for Pre-K – 8th grade students located in Lyndonville, Vermont. For additional information, visit www.theriversideschool.org.