Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Sarah Montgomery


Are the current practices of education one that best benefits a student? Every day, millions of children go to school. While there is a wide variety of what this experience may look like, there are common factors, such as sterile classroom environments, canned experiences, and dry lectures that often contribute to leaving students feeling burnt out, exhausted, and unmotivated. The purpose of this study was to explore how various schools use Nature-Based education to run their programs and the impact of this approach on students and teachers. For this study, four educators from three various programs were interviewed and asked about their personal experience in the field of education, how their current program began, what a day at their school looks like, their philosophy of education, and their perception of how nature-based education has impacted their students. These programs included an independent nature-based preschool, a nature-center school located in the midwestern United States, and a Forest School in Iceland. One of these interviews was conducted on site of the school grounds, while the other two interviews took place over Zoom. Throughout the interview process, various common themes occurred among all educators. An emphasis on trust and freedom- peer-to-peer, and student-to-teacher- emerged. The impacts of the social-emotional learning built into the school community of schools with nature-based education were also seen through the fulfillment of educators and the joy of the students. This fulfillment of educators was highlighted in the way all three educators proudly described their school, their philosophy, and their mission. These findings leave us with the question of how to incorporate these practices to benefit all students.

Year of Submission



Department of Curriculum and Instruction

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (31 pages)