Greening of Schoolyards – Expanding Learning Opportunities Across the Campus




1 Learning Units (LU)

How applies to HSW:

According to the Children and Nature Network, “Green Schoolyards” are multi-functional school grounds, designed by and for the entire school community, that include places for students, teachers, parents and community members to play, learn, explore and grow. Green schoolyards provide numerous benefits to school communities, including expanded learning opportunities through hands-on spaces, health & wellness in natural settings, environmental improvements for water/air and wildlife, and strong community building. In Vancouver, WA and cities across the country, schools are examining their entire campuses as opportunities to expand learning and play. Updating old features, maximizing under-utilized spaces and repurposing unused areas can provide a wealth of acreage to schools where funding is tight. Schools are starting conversations, taking a hard look at risk and liability while expanding how students can explore and create hands-on project areas right out the back door of their school. New and updated features in Green Schoolyards support learning goals for a variety of curriculum, such as the Next Generation Science Standards and STEM learning, to music, art, reading, writing, math as well as physical health, mental well-being and social development. Creating spaces throughout the campus allow students to explore in a safe environment, whether in structured curriculum studies or passive recess time, including imagination play and skills building. Numerous research studies support that children are calmer, increase test scores and have general improvement when they are able to access green and natural settings on a daily basis, such as their green schoolyard. As design professionals, Green Schoolyards looks beyond one profession to include multiple disciplines to determine a variety of features to support passive and active learning, play and respite on the school grounds.

Learning Objectives:
  • How the design of a play-ground can en-courage children to move and en-gage in healthy activities
  • Examine the choice of mate-rials that will not affect negatively the health of the users
  • Examine the importance of integrating natural features in the design of a play-ground to pro-mote health and learning
  • Observe how the play-ground space can be used for more “academic” types of activities



First custom Session value: Primary Competency Design of Educational Facilities:
Second custom Session value: Primary Domain Toolbox / Secondary Domain Learning