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ERIC Number: EJ790149
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1253
The 100-Mile Curriculum: Place as an Educative Construct
Giesbrecht, Sheila
Education Canada, v48 n2 p26-29 Spr 2008
Over the last decades, the ways in which children experience and understand their worlds have radically altered. In still-recent times, children were part of communities; they played in wild places and had unsupervised experiences. Today, the lives of children are increasingly fragmented, solitary, and removed from a sense of place. Children come home to empty houses and operate independently. A larger proportion of time is devoted to homework and structured after-school activities while technology (computer games, television, music) take a growing percentage of each day. Children experience stranger-fear and have fewer natural spaces as sites for exploration and imagination. The activities experienced by children in the past, which supported community, nature and place, have been replaced with post-modern activities that support new and fundamentally different priorities. In the fall of this year, a group in Manitoba put out the challenge for 100 Manitobans to eat locally for 100 days. Intrinsic to this idea was the thought that the exploration and economic support of the local promotes different values and interests than the economic support of the global. This idea appealed to the author both ideologically and as an educator. The movement towards localized eating supported a variety of constructs that were becoming marginalized in the postmodern world. Eating within a 100-mile radius forced participants to be creative, get to know the local farmer, grow their own food and try their hand at preserving. Intrinsic to these skills was the reaffirmation of the marginalized constructs of place, community and nature. In the centering of these non-mainstream values, new empathetic understandings emerge. The ideas of sustainability, empathetic care for the world, and commitment to one's neighbor emerged as guiding insights and values. In the author's own struggle to reconcile the exclusion of place, community, empathy and nature in their educational system, she discovered the 100-mile diet as a model for framing these ideas within the field of education. Accordingly, she launched the 100-mile curriculum challenge. She challenged teachers to tweak curriculum to explore local issues, ideas, resources and communities for one semester. The purpose of this challenge was to celebrate the abundance, diversity and complexity of Manitoba's communities, raise awareness of issues affecting them, support re-inhabitation of our communities, care for nature, and develop more complex methodological ways of helping students learn. (Contains 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada