“Sense of Place”

“Places usually have names and boundaries and include continents, islands, countries, regions, state, cities, neighborhoods, villages, and uninhabited areas” (Downs & Heffron, 2012, p. 35).  I think a “sense of place” means a place to call “home.”  I think a “sense of place” is important for students because they need to have a place where they feel safe and place to call their own.  Unfortunately many students did not always have a “sense of home” because they move frequently or they feel like they do not have their own space.  Students do not always have opportunities to be part of their community for various reasons which is why it is essential for schools to create a sense of community. 

“It takes a place to create a community, and a community to create a place” (Project for Public Spaces). I think creating a community environment at a school is important because it creates a place where students want to go and that they feel safe. As a teacher, it is necessary to build a sense of community and safety in your classroom.  Teachers can also incorporate information about their local community into lessons to help students understand the community around them. 

The community that I live in has many different activities throughout the year to create a “sense of place.”  During two different months throughout the year, there are weekly music in the park nights.  The community embraces this free activity and it is always very crowded.  A variety of local business provided catering for these events.  There is also things like the chocolate walk, holiday in the park, the Swamp Fox festival and various other events throughout the year.  Prior to living in this community, I had not lived in a community that had embraced their residents and planned so many free activities.  Barry Wendell stated “To have a place, to live and belong in a place, to live from a place without destroying it, we must imagine it.” 

Downs, R.M., & Heffron, S.G. (2012). Geography for life: National geography standards (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: National Council for Geographic Education.  

Project for Public Spaces. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.pps.org/reference/what_is_placemaking/

Wendell, B. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture/wendell-e-berry-lecture

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3 thoughts on ““Sense of Place”

  1. I like your community activities. It sounds like you live in a very proactive community. Finding ways to get the youth involved in their community helps develop a sense of pride and community. I know our community has faced some challenges in trying to get an Irish fest going. Some did not want the fest to go because they were afraid they would have to work for it and others thought that there are just as many Irish as other ethnic groups and did not find it fair. Though our town was an Irish settlement, things have changed. I personal was part of the committee worked with others to orchestrate this festival. I was in awe of the turnout in a small town. It is great you have a community that already embraces celebrations!

  2. Tying community to place is genius! I especially like “It takes a place to create a community, and a community to create a place” (Project for Public Spaces). Everyday I engage my 5th graders in a community circle. As elementary as it sounds, it is one of the most meaningful parts of our day. Students take part in learning experiences and activities that build community. I never stopped to think that this could give my students a feeling of place in our classroom! It is a sad reality that many students never get feel that sense of place that they so deserve. It is our job as teachers to give them whatever opportunities we can to relate to place while they are with us!

  3. You brought up a good point that all students don’t have that sense of place. Unfortunately, students now days move a lot more and are uprooted often. I think it’s imperative that we as teachers try to make students feel safe and secure in our own classrooms so that we can give students that sense of place.

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