About schoolground greening
There’s a lot of work involved when designing a playground in a natural way.
From design to educational interpretation to process and plan of action. There are tons of benefits, but also some pitfalls.
A natural schoolground brings five equally important benefits:
- biodiversity and climate
- educational opportunities
- playing possibilities
- well-being and health
- neighbourhood engagement
With "The natural way forward" we focus on the subthemes "biodiversity and climate" and "education". We explore, among other things, how to use a natural playground to learn in, with and from nature, how to counter biodiversity loss with our green schoolgrounds and, how a playground can support an ecological corridor area.
Biodiversity and climate
A schoolground with native flora and fauna and local species enhances biodiversity and provides additional resting and feeding places for local animals. In this way, a playground can even become a stepping stone within a specific ecological corridor.
Moreover, a green playground can reduce the urban heat island effect. This is because the greenery provides shade and cooling.
A more permeable surface increases the water buffering capacity.
If you want to learn with and from nature, at or around school, then a natural schoolground offers you every opportunity to do so. It ensures positive educational results, both for students and teachers.
Learning becomes more experiential, sensory, physical/moving and self-directed. The playground offers challenge, variety, unexpected events and living teaching materials. A green schoolground stimulates the development of children with special educational needs and is ideally suited to achieve educational goals through formal and informal learning.
Natural playgrounds lead to more qualitative play.
A green playground encourages free and diverse play and gives children and adolescents every opportunity to develop their risk management skills. Side effects of a natural schoolground are also curiosity, creativity, cooperation, self-confidence, concentration and goal setting.
Well-being and health
All students – from pre-schoolers to teenagers – experience mental, physical and emotional health benefits on a green schoolground. Adolescents are more active and therefore fitter. They experience greater well-being, there is more social cohesion and bullying behaviour decreases.
A green schoolground connects. Not only as a stepping stone in an ecological corridor, but also by bringing nature to the neighbourhood, especially in urban areas where nature is often less accessible.
Shared use offers numerous opportunities. Hence, the schoolground is a place to play and meet. The natural environment promotes ownership, a sense of solidarity, shared responsibility and social control.