Oregon Coast Education Program


Avoiding Ecophobia—When educating children about threats to the environment, some have adopted the strategy that children should hear the worst to motivate them to care for our planet. However, in his article, “Beyond Ecophobia”, David Sobel explores the unintended results of presenting young children with doom and gloom scenarios about environmental catastrophes. While the intent may be to produce the next generation of caring environmental stewards, using negative and abstract information too early can instead have the opposite effect. Children end up feeling overwhelmed, helpless, and resigned.

Since we are aware that the topic of the Year Two module has the potential to be upsetting and/or discouraging, we will strive to select age/developmentally-appropriate materials and activities.

  • We have intentionally partnered IMPACTS with SOLUTIONS in the same Module so that students will not miss out on problem-solving and direct action that the SOLUTIONS topic has to offer.
  • Our module emphasizes place-based, experiential education.
  • Our module is already divided into three levels by age, and our youngest group is grade 3-5.

Ages 7-11—Exploration of the natural world is an important phase in educational development at this stage. The heart of childhood is the critical period for bonding with their neighborhood ecosystem. Due to children's expanding knowledge of their environment, this is the time to immerse children in the possibilities of their natural surroundings. Constructing forts, creating small imaginary worlds, hunting and gathering, searching for treasures, making maps, taking care of animals, gardening, and shaping the earth are perfect activities during this stage.