TOTOS SEEP Grant EE/ESE Program Descriptions

Sustainability and Environmental Education for Pre-Service (SEEP)

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Name(s) of instructor(s)

Clancy Wolf, , , John Haskin

Name of university

University of Washington Program at IslandWood

Level of preparation for the program being described: elementary, middle school, high school (or combination)

Upper Elementary and Middle School. Focus on instruction for informal settings, with attention paid to requirements for teaching certificates.

University course number


University course title


University course catalogue description

Natural History and Ecology

This course provides an overview to basic ecological concepts and the natural history of the Pacific Northwest.

Classroom Management

This course studies and applies classroom management research, theoretical models, and strategies. Topics include student behavior, rules, procedures, parent involvement, cooperative skills, conflict resolution, problem solving, diversity and self-esteem.

Environmental Education: History, Issues and Methods

This course involves a survey of the theoretical foundations and evolution of environmental education in the United States and builds educators' expertise in leadership and environmental education.

Child Growth and Development

This course will explore the major theories of human growth and development and their application to the classroom. It will also examine the effects of various cultural, socioeconomic and age considerations on development. In addition, students will learn to recognize the physical, linguistic, cognitive, social and emotional development of normal and exceptional children. They will also explore and compare theories of learning including maturational, psychoanalytical, cognitive-developmental and the systems approach. This course will also include relevant examination of issues related to physical, sexual and substance abuse, and statutes relevant to reporting such abuse.

Science Methods: An Inquiry Approach

In this course, students will develop an understanding of teaching children science in K-8 using an inquiry approach. Based on Piagetian developmental models, students will determine what content is appropriate for children at different grade levels. Students will develop units of study and lessons, which will promote children's thinking skills and assist them in acquiring positive attitudes towards science.

Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

This course surveys the social, philosophical and historical foundations of American Education. Issues of democracy and diversity are explored in a context of examining schooling as a product of culture. Strategies will be addressed for effective teaching in a multicultural context.

Curriculum and Instruction Methods

Basic principles of instructional design, curriculum development and instructional strategies as applied to the K-8 curriculum. Emphasis will be on teaching methods, unit development, lesson planning, instructional delivery and the current school curriculum.

Integrating Technology Across the Curriculum

This survey course provides an overview of technology commonly found in schools and how these technologies are used by educators. The focus of the class is on how technology and various tools can be used to complement and supplement educational goals. Students will be introduced to various technologies, lesson planning, and ways of integrating technology into planning academic, technological, and multicultural curricula for K-8 classrooms. This course will serve as a foundation for integrating technology across the curriculum.

Integrating Arts Across the Curriculum

This course will identify basic elements, principles, related concepts, and vocabulary of the creative arts. Students will be introduced to various media, lesson planning, and ways of integrating the arts into planning academic and multicultural curricula for K-8 classrooms. This course will serve as a foundation for integrating arts across the curriculum.

Teaching Practicum

Demonstration and application of the knowledge acquired in education courses including methods, classroom management and foundations of education.

Exploring Community as a Context for Learning: Social Studies Methods

Emphasizing the possibilities of using communities as a context for integrated learning, this course will examine to scope and sequence of K-8 planning and implementing of lessons in social studies. Differences in learning, abilities and styles among students with different ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds are discussed. Values derived from these differences and the problems of teaching social studies in our society are considered. Practical exercises using a variety of methodological techniques for designing and developing integrated, multicultural curriculum components are illustrated.

Non-Profit Administration

Introduces successful tools for operating a non-profit organization, including strategic planning, management and fundraising.

Non-Profit volunteer experience: 5 hours

Independent Study Project

Independent study projects allow graduate students to further their expertise in areas they would like to pursue for future employment. Projects are based on education theory and practice, scientific research, the arts or technology.

Seminar in Sustainability and Social Responsibility

This course will examine current readings and topics in sustainability and social responsibility. We live in a time where talking about sustainability is in vogue, yet our cars use more and more gas. We also live in a time when increasing numbers of people are dying from communicable diseases and hunger. We challenge our selves in this course to closely examine sustainability and social responsibility on a local, national and global level and decipher what kinds of choices sustainability and social responsibility require. A variety of readings will be chosen to guide this discussion.

Objectives of this specific EE-ESE project

(big ideas are fine)

  • Powerful learning occurs through immersion in meaningful experiences, with reflection and transference facilitated by dedicated, thoughtful educators.
  • People learn by struggling to reconcile new ideas and experiences with their prior world views.
  • Respectful, compassionate interactions with others empowers everyone to take risks and meet challenges.
  • The teacher is a servant-leader facilitating students’ engagement, inquiry, and construction of knowledge and understanding.
  • The interconnected systems of environment and community provide a meaningful, integrative context for learning.
  • Being an outstanding educator is a lifelong pursuit.

Description of the experience(s) the pre-service teachers had to learn EE-ESE strategies

(This is the main, detailed description. Please include enough detail so someone else will know what you did.)

The graduate program at IslandWood is based on the principle that a more sustainable future demands knowledgeable, committed and reflective educators. Each year, our graduate students live, learn, teach with us in a spectacular natural setting. Together we explore the meaning and power of education, environment and community. Students share their knowledge with culturally diverse communities through hands-on teaching experiences.

The ten-month Graduate Residency in Education, Environment and Community at IslandWood (EEC), in partnership with the University of Washington, draws on the best practices of experiential, environmental and multicultural education, using natural and cultural environments as a context for learning. All courses are held at IslandWood and are taught by full-time IslandWood faculty on our Bainbridge Island campus.

Graduate students arrive in August for an intense month of training at the beautiful IslandWood facility, including instruction in the natural history and ecology of the Puget Sound region and group management strategies.

Beginning in the fall, students combine academic coursework with teaching experiences in the School Overnight Program on the IslandWood campus and in surrounding Puget Sound-area elementary and middle schools. The focus of the teaching practicum is to work with fourth through sixth-grade students to help them develop an awareness of basic ecological concepts, the interconnectedness of natural and cultural communities and the impact humans have on the environment and each other. Low faculty-to-student ratios and a close-knit working community allow EEC faculty to mentor students frequently throughout the program and support them in their academic studies and professional growth.

The Graduate Residency in Education, Environment and Community at IslandWood (EEC) program trains current and future educators to create learning environments that offer every child the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of both human and natural communities. The EEC program is grounded in the following philosophical commitments:

* Knowledge of ecological concepts and practical details of natural habitats is necessary to explore healthier relationships between human communities and the natural world.

* Education is most successful when teachers are sensitive to cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious diversity and can create classrooms that honor this diversity.

* Meaningful education grows out of thoughtfully guided experiences and reflection.

* Every member of the teaching and learning communities can contribute as both teacher and student.

* An integrated curriculum combining science, technology, and the arts allows individuals with a variety of learning styles and aptitudes to succeed in an experiential education setting.

* An important aspect of the educational process is helping students find a balance between their individuality and their responsibility as members of human and natural communities.

* Environmental and experiential education is most effective when it relates to real-life experiences in the home community of the student.

* A sustainable future depends upon teaching children to respect each other and the natural world.

Materials/equipment needed for the pre-service teacher experience (include technology that may have been used)

Were preK-12 children involved? (Yes or no). If yes, describe their involvement and ages.

The EEC students have weekly practicum field experiences providing mentored instruction in a 4-day, 3-night, residential School Overnight Program (SOP) for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students in the Puget Sound region. Each class of graduate students works with roughly 3500 students, mostly from King and Kitsap county, with many on free or reduced lunches.

Was this an indoor or outdoor project (or both)?

Describe the setting.

The Graduate Residency in Education, Environment and Community at IslandWood (EEC)is located on 255 acres of forest and wetlands on the south end of Bainbridge Island, a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle and a short distance to the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges.

This wondrous natural setting was the inspiration for the creation of IslandWood. Two years of community input and conversations with more than 1,200 neighbors, teachers, artists, scientists, historians and children contributed to the design and planning of the IslandWood facilities. The cluster of core buildings includes five technologically advanced learning labs, an arts studio, three sleeping lodges, dining hall and great hall. The remaining 240 acres have been left undeveloped for field exploration.

The property’s diverse ecosystems—cattail marsh, bog, four-acre pond, second growth forest, and stream—are linked by over five miles of trails for field activities. Special field structures—a suspension bridge, bird blind, floating classroom and tree house—create hands-on learning opportunities. In addition to its spectacular natural setting, the property has a rich history, steeped in the culture of Coastal Salish Native American, Japanese American, Filipino American and European American communities - which provides a rich content for the integrated curriculum.

The IslandWood campus is a model of sustainable architecture, integrating recycled materials, passive and active solar design, and innovative water collection and re-use. In fact, the buildings themselves serve as learning opportunities, helping students experience the science of solar, wind and hydroelectric energy production.

Were other subject area professors involved? Yes or no. If yes, what subjects were integrated? How?

See course descriptions above. Each semester all three courses are coordinated for weekly experiences and reflections. Classwork is tied to practicum field work.

Were there community/ agency/institution partners? Yes or no. If yes, how was the partnership structured?

How was the program evaluated? What did the pre-service teachers have to say?


If another grant was written to support your EE-ESE work, what types of things would you hope to accomplish?