PLT Curriculum: Effective and Adaptable
There are many reasons why Project Learning Tree (PLT) is a great way to get young people engaged in the natural world. All of them involve its quality. PLT bases its curriculum on a combination of sound research and field-testing and continuously evaluates and updates it to ensure that current educator and student needs are being met, making it the cutting edge of environmental education. Below are a few more reasons to help encourage you to start using it in your routine.
PLT appeals to a broad range of learners. Activity guides have been developed to be flexible and inclusive, with the intent that every child be given the opportunity to grow and learn. From early childhood to up through high school, PLT curriculum serves many different age groups. It also supports diverse learning styles and cultural backgrounds.
Activities can be adapted to many different contexts. They are suitable for use indoors or outdoors and in classrooms, after-school programs, nature centers, museums, parks, childcare centers, backyards, and more. PLT is not just for science teachers--formal and non-formal educators of all subjects, natural resource professionals, childcare providers, and parents will all find PLT materials engaging and easy-to-use.
PLT develops more advanced thinking skills. Cirriculum is designed to help teach young people how to think, not what to think, about complex issues. While learning about the environment, children will also be enhancing their critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and observation skills. This is important for their future, when it will be up to them to weigh various sides of environmental challenges and opportunities and make informed and responsible decisions.
PLT Then and Now
Project Learning Tree (PLT) started in 1976 when natural resource managers and educators from the American Forest Foundation and the Council of Environmental Education collaborated to develop an unbiased, educationally sound program for elementary and secondary students and their teachers. The partners designed PLT to be shared through trained facilitators who, in turn, train others in how to most effectively use the materials. The first workshops were held in 13 states; since then, the PLT network has expanded to include all 50 states and a dozen countries.
In the past forty years, PLT's innovative program has received recognition and awards from several prominent educational and community organizations. Some notable examples include a 2011 Teacher's Choice Award from Learning Magazine and a 2006 Award for Outstanding Service by an Organization at the Global Level from the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).
These days, PLT is still growing, with a network of 3,000 active volunteers and state coordinators and more than 500,000 trained educators. New workshops are taking place all over the world to provide people with the tools, training, and resources they need to bring youth and the environment together.
Learn more at www.plt.org.