K-12 Environmental Education: Guidelines for Excellence


K-12 Environmental Education: Guidelines for Excellence

A young child writing on paper lying on grass

K–12 Environmental Education: Guidelines for Excellence provides students, parents, caregivers, educators and others a roadmap to achieving environmental literacy by setting expectations for fourth (age 10), eighth (age 14) and twelfth grade (age 18) students and outlining a framework for effective and comprehensive environmental education programs and curricula. These guidelines help define the aims of environmental education. They set a standard for high quality education, based on what an environmentally literate person should know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school. They draw on the best thinking in the field to outline the core ingredients of environmental education.

Through the National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education, the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) is taking the lead in establishing guidelines for the development of coherent and comprehensive environmental education materials and programs. These guidelines draw on our best thinking honed by scholars and practitioners across a variety of fields and settings, including formal and nonformal education, curriculum development, instructional design, early childhood education, and adult education.

To ensure that these Guidelines for Excellence reflect a widely shared understanding of environmental education, they were developed by a team of environmental education professionals from a variety of backgrounds and organizational affiliations. This team took on the challenge of turning ideas about environmental literacy into tangible recommendations and examples. In addition, drafts of these guidelines were circulated widely to practitioners and scholars in the field (e.g., teachers, educational administrators, environmental scientists, and curriculum developers), and their comments were incorporated into successive revisions of the document. As such, hundreds of practitioners have participated in the writing of these guidelines. To learn more and to access additional resources, visit the Guidelines for Excellence website.