What is Ecoliteracy?

Ecoliteracy is the understanding of the natural systems that make life on our planet possible. Students become ecoliterate when we allow nature to be the teacher. Earthroots Ecoliteracy programs cultivate care and connection between students and the earth, while supporting academic standards taught in the classroom. 

Earthroots Ecoliteracy in Schools Programs

Earthroots’ Ecoliteracy in Schools (EES) programs are designed for schools that prefer on-campus field trips. EES classes provide opportunities for kindergarten through fifth grade students to connect with nature from the convenience of their own classrooms or school campus. Trained Earthroots instructors will come to your school to facilitate hands-on, experiential, nature based lessons, aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and California History/Social Science Content Standards (HSS). Earthroots Ecoliteracy curriculum is cyclical and grade-specific, each year building on the previous year’s learning, and  is aligned with childhood developmental stages to optimize engagement. 

The NGSS advocates for three-dimensional learning, which is good news for outdoor and environmental education. Ecology based core ideas and concepts are most effectively taught through exploration of the natural world. This direct participation creates a more meaningful learning experience within a contextually rich learning environment. Lessons are fun, multisensory, engaging, and integrate students’ funds of knowledge. Programs are tailored based on student need and campus environment, honoring students’ prior knowledge and cultural background. 

Following each program, students are able to connect these firsthand experiences in nature to concepts taught in the regular classroom, amplifying and adding meaning to standards-based curriculum. As a result, student attitude toward classroom learning shifts, they begin to ask questions, and students become the center of the classroom.

Our aim is to help cultivate, nurture and support all students as they achieve environmental literacy, while preparing them to care for the world they live in. In an effort to support the diverse student populations of California that must have equity of access to nature based programs, Earthroots offers grant funded Ecoliteracy Programs to a limited number of Title 1 public schools.

Click here to schedule programs at your school.

Program overview

  • Content Standards Supported
    • Earthroots Ecoliteracy in Schools (ESS) programs in grades K-5 are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). NGSS are a set of K-12 science standards that outline learning goals for each grade level.
    • EES programs in Grades 2-5 are aligned with History–Social Science Content Standards (HSS) for California Public Schools. 
  • Topics and activities are tailored based on individual site needs and seasonal availability, and may be covered in one class session or expanded on in a class series.
  • Programs will be offered to an entire grade level, not individual classes
  • Multiple classes must be scheduled on the same day (3-4 classes per day)
  • Maximum number of students per class = 35
  • Program length per class: 1-3 hours depending on grade and topic
  • Pricing $300 per hour
  • Mileage fee (to be charged for programs scheduled after 1/1/2024): No mileage fee will be charged for locations within 10 miles from Earthroots. A $1.10 per mile fee (round trip) will be charged to locations beyond 10 miles with a minimum charge of $40.

In Kindergarten, students will discover how to connect with nature. Plant and animal life are observed on and around school grounds as students learn how to slow down and notice the natural world.

In first grade, students will develop their sensory awareness to perceive subtle details, patterns, and changes in the environment. The natural world offers a diverse palette of sights, smells, noises, tastes, and textures for students to explore.

In second grade, students will learn how to look for clues on the land, and investigate how they tell the story of what happened there. Students will become detectives, as they discover how careful observation of earth’s features can depict how water, plant, animal, and human activity have shaped the land.

Third grade ecoliteracy programs nurture a student’s inquisitive nature and sense of wonder by encouraging them to ask questions about living things and their relationship with the environment.

In fourth grade, students are eager to head outside, make detailed observations in nature, and examine their field notes to determine cause and effect. Exciting, outdoor lessons are designed to encourage students to ask questions and explore solutions.

In fifth grade, students will learn about human impacts on the natural world and ways individuals and communities can work toward restoring and protecting natural resources and ecosystems. Students will study plants and their relationship with humans through firsthand experience and projects.