CSCS Grade 1,2

Planting the Seeds for Engaged 21st Century Citizens

green school catalyst quarterly

Article Title: "Planting the Seeds for Engaged 21st Century Citizens: Civic Education in the Primary Grades at the Cottonwoods School of Civics and Science, winter 2020"

Date of Article: 02/12/2020

Article Author: Sarah Anderson


“What is the responsibility of public school in recovering and sustaining our democracy? Successfully preparing our young people means more than training them for high-tech jobs. Future citizens will need to be skilled problem-solvers, communicators, and collaborators to tackle crises such as climate change and global migration. They will also need to navigate and appreciate diverse perspectives. Schools can serve as fertile grounds for the next generation of citizens by infusing civic education into the bedrock of their curriculum.


The Cottonwood School of Civics and Science is a public K-8 charter school in Portland, Oregon. We apply our place-based mission to all areas of study across the grades to more deeply connect our 210 students to the communities around us and to offer handson experience with civic engagement. Although place-based education (PBE) grew out of the environmental education movement, its holistic definition of place includes all elements of the human-built world (history, economics, infrastructure, current events, etc.) in addition to the natural environment.”


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Author Bio:

Sarah Anderson is an educator and author specializing in place-based education and curriculum design. Anderson served as a middle school humanities teacher for nine years, first in Annapolis, Maryland and then at the Cottonwood School of Civics and Science in Portland, Oregon. She is currently the Fieldwork and Place-Based Education Coordinator at the Cottonwood School where she leads workshops and mentors other teachers in place-based curriculum design. Anderson is the author of Bringing School to Life: Place-Based Education across the Curriculum and has written for Teaching Tolerance, Educational Leadership, and Education Week. She holds a degree in American Studies from Bard College and a M.Ed. from Antioch New England Graduate School.

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