Dr. Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots program

Encouraging a Self-Directed Project-Based Learning Approach With Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots Curriculum

Jane Goodall, the renowned scientist and conservationist, is touring Australia and New Zealand, promoting her youth-led action program, Roots & Shoots. Established in 1991, Roots & Shoots encourages young people to engage in environmental and social justice projects. This program has grown to over 60 countries, empowering children as young as five to make a difference by providing tools, resources, and support for their chosen causes.

Roots & Shoots projects range from local environmental conservation efforts to raising awareness through media. For example, 13-year-old Spencer Hitchen from Queensland used a mini-grant to create a calendar featuring his photography to raise awareness about local ecosystems.

The success of Roots & Shoots lies in its informal, project-based learning approach, which can be integrated into school curriculums. By adopting this model, students can select a Sustainable Development Goal, conduct self-directed research, collaborate with community experts, implement their projects, and share their outcomes.

This hands-on approach to education not only addresses real-world challenges but also develops essential skills in young people. Incorporating Roots & Shoots into formal education would honor Goodall’s legacy, providing students with practical experience in tackling environmental and social issues.