"The many compelling stories, problems and perplexities of our places can be woven into formal learning plans to the benefit of students, teachers and the communities in which we work."

~Amy Demarest

Welcome to Our Curriculum Matters!


This website is designed to provide inspiration and practical ideas for K-12 teachers who seek meaningful and authentic ways to embed learning in local places. Here you will find a vibrant view of place-based education and curriculum design.

This site highlights the work of Amy Demarest—a former classroom teacher who works as a curriculum coach in northern Vermont on Abenaki land. She facilitates a process with teachers to articulate and design curriculum that means more to their students, themselves and the communities in which they teach.

Comments or questions, please use our Contact Form

Enjoy exploring the places you live--and transforming the meaning of education in the process!


Reflections on 2020

2020 was the year of reckoning -- as a society -- as a democracy -- and as human beings. Questions were raised that made us look at ourselves, our actions and our interactions with each other. We examined the assumptions behind many of the structures of our society and the words we used to describe how they worked and the stories they told.

And like many others, I looked at the names of things. When I named Our Curriculum Matters, I was thinking more that the “our” was meant to communicate that decisions about curriculum should be more ours more than theirs. More from our community rather than people in places far away. Less state and federal control and more local and individual control.

I’m looking at the word our again. Our can mean more about including everyone. Looking at places in ways that include all the stories not just the master narrative. Not just “important people” or “important places.” Together we can build a curriculum that includes the voices of all the players. As my friend Elise Guyette has encouraged us to picture the study of history as a stage and how the spotlight usually only shines on the actors at the front. Shine a spotlight all over. Include all the stories.

It’s a good analogy. There are so many ways that we ignore stories to the exclusion of others.

If we activate our collective power to design an equitable, relevant and democratic education our curriculum will matter to our youth, to our communities and to our future. A place-based education that acknowledges and honors the lived experiences of all people in all places is a critical piece of that transformative work.


Learning Outside in 2020

One of the bright spots in 2020 is the extent to which teachers have managed to get outside in response to COVID-19. Frequently at the urging of their administrators! It’s healthy it’s fun, and oh yeah, it’s educational! See a few interesting articles about this trend in the resource section!


Raise your mittens: Outdoor learning continues into winter
Raise your mittens: Outdoor learning continues into winter. - Valley News 


Schools Beat Earlier Plagues With Outdoor Classes. We Should, Too.

Schools Beat Earlier Plagues With Outdoor Classes. We Should, Too. - NY Times 



Amy is author of Place-based Curriculum Design: Exceeding Standards Through Local Investigations (Available from from Routledge). This book, useful to practicing and new teachers alike, won the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum (AATC) annual O.J. Davis Jr. Outstanding Book Award "in recognition of scholarship that adds substantively to the body of knowledge about the practices and theories of curriculum and teaching." Check out this exciting podcast with Jeannie Phillips and Thierry Uwilingiyimana talking about Amy’s book!

Her previous publications include This Lake Alive! (1997) that portrays her work in the classroom (actually out of the classroom!!!) learning about the local watershed with her middle-level students in Milton, Vermont. She continues to work with watershed education with CBEI (Champlain Basin Education Initiative) is profiled on WatershED Matters' website.

She edited a special issue on place-based education: “Place-based Education: A Toolkit for the 21st Century”, Green Teacher 110, Summer 2016.(Available online at Green Teacher Magazine, http://greenteacher.com.)

Her most recent publication titled "Learning Locally, Understanding Globally" is in the Middle Grades Review.



The next session of Watershed for Every Classroom will be underway in 2021-2022!





Our Curriculum Matters Blog >>


Complete listing of Resources >>