NCEF Resource List: Outdoor Learning Environments
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Information on design, construction, and maintenance of school grounds for outdoor learning, compiled by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.

References to Books and Other Media

A Practical Guide to Planning, Constructing, and Using School Courtyards
(Maryland State Department of Education School Facilities Branch , Jul 24, 2012)
The Maryland Department of Education guideline for courtyard design is for use by local planning committees and architects in designing new schools and developing major renovation/addition projects. This guide also will be useful to school systems, school-based staff, and parent/community groups seeking to revitalize and make better use of existing courtyards. It includes recommendations for building and plant materials; safety and security; size, volume, and orientation; construction, accessibility, maintenance, and code compliance. The guide is illustrated with numerous color photographs, diagrams, and examples from Maryland and around the world. It documents the benefits of school courtyards, including: letting natural light and ventilation into classrooms; providing a safe, contained, outdoor area for instruction; supporting environmental education programs; and offering opportunities for creative, hands-on educational activities. p103

The Outdoor Environment: How Can Our Children Learn to Care About their Futures? Adobe PDF
(The Learning Escape, United Kingdom, Jun 2012)
Addresses the long-term benefits for the environment of learning within natural, outdoor space. Illustrate the importance that the natural environment plays in the concept of environmental citizenship and learning as a whole. Includes the results of a survey on what schools think about outdoor learning and environmental citizenship. 21p

The Economics of Biophilia: Why Designing with Nature in Mind Makes Financial Sense Adobe PDF
(Terrapin Bright Green, May 2012)
Recent research in neuroscience and endocrinology clearly demonstrates that experiencing nature has significant benefits, both psychological and physiological. Bringing nature and references to nature into the built environment is the purpose of biophilic design. This white paper compiles an economic argument for biophilic design in the built environment. Includes a chapter on school environments, discussing daylighting and outdoor learning opportunities as a means to improve test scores and positively impact the stress levels of society’s youngest members. 39p

Greening the Schoolyard. Creating a Ten Year Green Schoolyard Plan for R.F. Downey Public School. Adobe PDF
Kristin Boyd and Julie Gardner
(Trent University, Ontario, Canada, Apr 2012)
The schoolyard plays an important role in the healthy development of students and is a space that can be used not only for academic learning, but also for fostering a sense of community. ‘Greening’ or building natural environments in schoolyards can enhance the overall educational experience of the child, and may even have an impact later on in their adult life. R.F. Downey Public School is dedicated to providing its students with learning opportunities outside of the classroom that incorporate the environment and, specifically, the schoolyard. Examining the current conditions of the schoolyard and making a Ten Year Green Schoolyard Plan will help to continue this process of development in a structured and organized way. Using research and input from parents, staff, students and community members, the Plan outlines what additions to the schoolyard R.F. Downey Public School will benefit from most. [Authors' abstract] 102p

Inspired to Learn; Nurturing the Naturalistic Learner. The Importance of Outdoor Learning Environments Adobe PDF
Randall, Robin
(Ball State University Greening of the Campus Conference, Mar 18, 2012)
Paper distinguishes the characteristics of the naturalistic learner; discovers what qualities in the built environment inspire this learning strategy; defines the characteristics of the “outdoor classroom”; and discusses future implications to curriculum delivery and environmental responsibility. 8p

Natural Play. An Evaluation of GfL’s Project Work with 8 Primary Schools in Central Scotland. Adobe PDF
(Grounds for Learning, United Kingdom, Jan 27, 2012)
A growing body of evidence suggests that play has a significant impact on almost every area of children’s lives. It also suggests that children have significantly fewer opportunities for non-prescriptive ‘free play’ than previous generations have enjoyed. Most children spend at least 2000 hours of their life in a school playground, probably more than in any other outdoor play setting. Despite this, many UK schools do little to create the kind of rich play environments and experiences that are important for children. In other parts of Europe, play is viewed as a crucial aspect of school life – and their playgrounds and play practice are radically different from the UK. The authors embarked on a 2-year project with 8 Scottish primary schools to explore whether some of these more ambitious European-style ideas could be adapted to a UK context and to assess what the benefits of this approach might be for children. This report summarizes the approach they took, the lessons they learned and the impact of these projects on children and schools. [Authors' abstract] 17p

Children's Contact with the Outdoors and Nature: A Focus on Educators and Educational Settings Adobe PDF
(Children and Nature Network , 2012)
Compilation of articles and documents that synthesize the literature related to children’s contact with the outdoors and nature and, in many cases, highlight children’s contact as it relates to educational settings. Some articles investigate linkages between the design of children’s school environments, children’s outdoor and/or nature-related behavior, and their physical activity and weight. Some articles examine topics related to children’s outdoor spaces. 50p

Health Benefits to Children From Contact With the Outdoors and Nature Adobe PDF
(Children and Nature Network , 2012)
Synthesis of selected research and studies on positive health benefits of children’s play in nature. 46p

Portraiture of a Green Schoolyard: A Natural History of Children's Experiences
Keena, Kelly Elizabeth
(Dissertation, University of Colorado at Denver, 2012)
Children in the United States are losing access to nature, yet previous research suggests that time in nature provides benefits for children's healthy development. Youth withdrawal from the natural world comes at a time in history when understanding environmental issues demands a knowledge of the natural environment and human's relationship to it. Schools have an opportunity to provide access to nature, but traditionally do not. This portraiture study investigated children's experiences in a schoolyard habitat at a public, traditional school with the purpose of illuminating how the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students felt, knew about, and acted in the natural setting. The findings indicated five major benefits of a schoolyard habitat used as a classroom throughout the school day: (1) critical thinking and curiosity; (2) ownership and identity; (3) peace and calm; (4) respite and respect; and (5) adventure and imagination. Present in all of those distinct yet interrelated themes was intellect, movement, joy, trust and confidence, safety, comfort and familiarity, respect, and relationships between students and between students and teachers. The study concluded that children's physical, intellectual, and emotional selves were all actively benefiting from the time in the habitat, that a balance of free and promoted action naturally occurred for students and teachers, and that the habitat was a place of kindness and respect. The study has implications for research and practitioners in children's sense of place, schooling, environmental literacy, and portraiture as a methodology to research children's experiences of place. [Author's abstract] 312p

Therapeutic Schoolyard: Design for Children with Autism
King, Chelsey
(Kansas State University, Jan 2012)
Needs of children with autism vary from child to child, but they all can benefit from environments that are designed with awareness of challenges and characteristics associated with autism. Schoolyards commonly contain asphalt, turf, and traditional play structures that do not take into consideration the needs of children with mental or physical disabilities. However, schoolyards can be designed to provide therapeutic benefits on these children without segregating them from the larger school community. In order to understand how a schoolyard might be designed as a therapeutic environment for children with autism the challenges, needs, and common therapies for children with autism must be understood. The characteristics of therapeutic landscapes for children must be considered in addition. After examining both therapeutic landscapes and the many facets of autism, the researcher applied lessons learned to the design of a schoolyard master plan for Amanda Arnold Elementary School in Manhattan, Kansas. [Author's abstract] 142p

Developing Great Schoolyards - A Handbook for Elementary Schools. Adobe PDF
(The 21st Century School Fund, Washington, D.C. and the Prince Charitable Trusts, Oct 2011)
Handbook explores outdoor spaces such as small athletic fields, vegetable gardens, and playgrounds that provide opportunities for physical challenges, exercise, sensory and fantasy play, organized sports and upsupervised free play. Features the District of Columbia public elementary schoolyards. Explains the qualities communities and parents should look for in schoolyards. Includes an assessment tool to rate your elementary schoolyard, and advice on how to plan and develop a quality schoolyard. 31p

Creating Quality School-Age Child Care Space. Adobe PDF
Winter, Katie
(Local Initiatives Support Corporation/Community Investment Collaborative for Kids, Sep 2011)
Provides strategies for planning, designing, and equipping after-school physical environments for school-age children from kindergarten through eighth grade. After-school spaces offer an opportunity to create special crossover environments where children can learn in a low-stress setting, explore new interests, and develop meaningful relationships with friends and mentors. Covers the following topics: getting started, adjacencies; accessibility; greening your space; tips for maximizing shared space; entry/gathering area; program activities; indoor and outdoor active play; dramatic play, quiet games, and construction-based play; science; music and arts; academic support; computer/technology spaces; adult spaces; children's bathrooms; storage; maintenance; ambiance and aesthetics; equipment and furnishings; 40p

Natural Environment Elevates the Learning Experience.
French, Jim; Contag, David; Sundharam, Premnath
(LandscapeOnline, Jun 2011)
DLR Group discusses ways that innovative and flexible outdoor spaces enhance the educational and social experience. Provides examples of patios, plazas, courtyards, amphitheaters, pathways, creative water and turf play environments, outdoor learning spaces, and outdoor dining. Includes case studies and photographs.

Children Learning Outside the Classroom: From Birth to Eleven
Waite, Sue
(Sage Publications Ltd, Mar 2011)
This book explores why learning beyond the classroom is important for children, and offers practical examples of how to improve outdoor learning experiences for all children. Each chapter has case studies, thoughts on theory, points for practice and summaries to help readers digest the most important information. 264p.

Design Workbook.
(Boston Schoolyard Initiative, 2011)
Provides ideas, guidance and tools for making decisions on potential elements in schoolyards and outdoor classrooms. The workbook has been created with consideration for safety, budget, sustainability, maintenance, sense of place, functionality and inclusion of natural and man-made materials. Includes a recommended plant list, illustrations of best practices, and numerous checklists.

Planning Workbook.
(Boston Schoolyard Initiative, 2011)
Designed for use during the Boston Schoolyard Initiative schoolyard and outdoor classroom planning phase, and contains information, worksheets and templates to support the work of the schoolyard committee, including meeting agendas, flyer templates and more. The workbook is a resource for engaging the schoolyard community in the schoolyard planning process.

Moving the Classroom Outdoors. Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning in Action.
Broda, Herbert W.
(Stenhouse Publishers, 2011)
Designed to provide teachers and administrators with a range of practical suggestions for making the schoolyard a varied and viable learning resource, this presents examples of how urban, suburban, and rural schools have enhanced the school site as a teaching tool. Includes ideas for seating, signage, planting considerations, teaching/meeting areas, outdoor classroom management, pathways, equipment storage, raised gardens, and more. The book also provides an outdoor activity sampler, information on incorporating technology into the outdoor learning experience, and a chapter on the unique concerns of urban schools.

School Greenhouse Guide
(National Gardening Association, Nov 2010)
This online guide to school greenhouses is a basic overview of key issues relevant to educators planning to run—or currently running—a school greenhouse program. It covers both operational and horticultural topics. Includes information on different styles of greenhouses, solar vs. supplemental heat, figuring costs, selecting a location, glazing, environmental controls, light, air/soil, cooling, venting, and heating.

Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation.
Danks, Sharon
(New Village Press , Nov 2010)
Guidebook for designing and building natural schoolyard environments that enhance childhood learning and play experiences while providing connection with the natural world. Intended for parents, teachers, school administrators, designers, environmentalists, and community volunteers. Explores the ways in which landscape design, architecture, child development, and nutrition converge in the schoolyard. Profusely illustrated. 288p.

Planning School Grounds for Outdoor Learning. Adobe PDF
Wagner, Cheryl; Gordon, Douglas
(National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC , Oct 2010)
Discusses the planning and design of school grounds for outdoor learning in new and existing K-12 facilities. A general discussion of the educational potential and history of outdoor learning spaces is followed by detail on the different types of outdoor learning environments that can be considered, the value of flexible spaces for outdoor learning, and resources for those interested in outdoor learning environments. Also explored are environmental education s physical impact on school grounds, considerations during school site development when outdoor education is to be included, and existing school site redesign for outdoor education. 35 resources and citations are included. 7p.

The School Site Planner. Adobe PDF
(North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction, Raleigh , Feb 2010)
Addresses many factors that need consideration during the process of school site selection, planning, development, and use. The guide examines not only the site selection and planning processes, but also playground planning, recreation and athletic fields planning. Specific considerations include analyses of the surrounding community or territory; building access and security; the surrounding natural environment and available support services; landscaping, utilities, and vehicular traffic; and playground equipment and safety. Final sections provide athletic field layouts for track and field events; football, soccer, and baseball fields; and basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts. Fourteen references are included. 67p.

Bagley Nature Area Classroom Pavilion.
(McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, 2010)
Presents a tour of a humble LEED-Platinum classroom, at the University of Minnesota in Duluth, that has the ambitious goals of net-zero energy and Passive House certification. The Passive House standard's founder Dr. Wolfgang Feist and members of the design team explain reliance on passive strategies more than technological ones. The building demonstrates leadership in energy efficiency, renewable energy, wastewater treatment, stormwater management, passive heating, natural ventilation, water efficiency, local and renewable materials, and a healthy indoor environment.

Manassas Park Elementary School.
(The Chesapeake Bay Program, Annapolis, 2010)
This video tour of the new Manassas Park Elementary School details the facility's abundant sustainable features. The lead architect on the project details the rainwater harvesting system, outdoor classroom, geothermal wells, daylighting, low-maintenance flooring, and environmental themes found throughout the building.

How to Grow a School Garden.
Bucklin-Sporer, Arden; Pringle, Rachel
(Timber Press, Portland, OR , 2010)
Advises teachers and parents on creating school gardens. Site design and funding are discussed, as is incorporating the garden into the curriculum. Lesson plans, plant selection information, horticultural technique, and recipes are also detailed. 224p.

The Outdoor Classroom: A Jewel in the Crown of Public Education.
Meyer, Kirk
(DesignShare, Minneapolis, MN, 2010)
Describes the educational benefits of outdoor classrooms, especially in inner-city areas. A video documenting a Boston outdoor classroom is included. 3

Young Children Learn Through Authentic Play in a Nature Explore Classroom. Adobe PDF
Miller, Dana L.; Tichota, Kathy; White, Joyce
(Dimensions Foundation, Lincoln, Neb., Nov 2009)
This research study concludes that outdoor play that engages with nature results in optimal childhood development mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally. Child-initiated outdoor play is an important element of overall education in conjunction with textbook-and-test teaching methods. 82p.

Programme Evaluation Summary Report for Schools. Adobe PDF
(Learning Through Landscapes, Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom , Mar 2009)
Reviews the work of the Royal Bank of Scotland's Supergrounds Program from its initiation in Sept 2004 through June 2010. The program gives grants to schools to improve their outdoor space and playgrounds. By the end of the Program's sixth year, 895 schools will have a new Supergrounds, giving 223,053 children access to improved outside spaces to learn and play. Over 7% of all schools in Scotland and 3% in England have received an Supergrounds award to date. The evaluations show that having a Supergrounds project increases the average time children spend learning and playing outside by 1 hour per week, per child. 13p.

Getting Started: A Guide for Creating School Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms Adobe PDF
(The Center for Ecoliteracy Press, 2009)
This is a step-by-step guide for creating a healthy, productive garden that serves as an educational environment for students. It discusses planning the garden, breaking ground, maintaining the garden, and managing the garden. 52p.

Learning Outside the Classroom. Adobe PDF
(Learning Through Landscapes, Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom , Oct 2008)
Evaluates the impact of learning outside the classroom in 12 primary schools, 10 secondary schools, one special school, one pupil referral unit and three colleges across England. Key findings include: 1) When planned and implemented well, learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils' personal, social and emotional development. 2) Learning outside the classroom was most successful when it was an integral element of long-term curriculum planning and closely linked to classroom activities. 3) The primary schools in the survey made better and more consistent use of their own buildings and grounds and the neighbouring area to support learning than the secondary schools. 4) Schools and colleges received valuable support from local authorities and local Learning and Skills Councils (LSCs) in meeting health and safety requirements for visits. 28p.
Report NO: 070219

Canoga Park High School Green Learning Garden.
(Los Angeles Unified School District, California, Jun 2008)
Visualizes San Fernando Valley's Canoga Park High School Green Learning Garden through computer-generated graphics. The detailed presentation shows examples of implementing principles of sustainability, education for art and music, community-building, environmental stewardship, and student achievement in all these areas. Examples of good stewardship of natural resources include a solar farm, a rose garden producing shade, hydroponics, and pedestrian- and bike-friendly sky bridges traversing highways.

Reimagining Outdoor Learning Spaces: Primary Capital, Co-Design and Educational Transformation.
(Futurelab, Bristol, United Kingdom , 2008)
Provides a handbook for rethinking the use of outdoor spaces for a broad range of possible learning and play opportunities, and purposes aimed primarily at the elementary sector. This publication also attempts to highlight the potential links between capital investment programs and a range of other British initiatives and policies seeking to promote play and outdoor learning for young children. It also illustrates the need to approach school grounds redesign not as a separate entity, but as a vehicle to drive forward and mobilize some of the broader overarching educational priorities. Finally, the handbook identifies the opportunities that are presented for involving children and young people as co-designers in the process of redesign, not only identifying the learning opportunities that are presented but also highlighting that failure to engage them in the process is less likely to produce feeling of ownership of any space and therefore undermining the sustainability of the project. 59p.

Student Gardens and Food Service. Adobe PDF
(Bon Appetit Management Company, Palo Alto, CA , 2008)
Advises on how to incorporate student gardens into the school food service. Sections of the document describe planning the garden, growing the produce, promotion within the school, social "bonding" over the garden, and improvement of the garden. A planning worksheets, sample invoice, and list of resources is included. 31p.

The Edible Schoolyard: Seed-to-Table Learning.
(George Lucas Foundation, San Rafael, CA, 2008)
This video profiles the "Edible Schoolyard," located on the campus of Martin Luther King Junior Middle School in Berkeley, California. This 1-acre urban garden and fully equipped kitchen are the home to a thoughtful, curriculum-based program designed to connect students with the earth, the environment, and an eclectic group of adults outside the traditional classroom. During kitchen classes students learn to prepare healthy foods using herbs and produce grown in the Edible Schoolyard. Educators involved in the Edible Schoolyard describe the program as a "seed-to-table" experience, referring to students' involvement in everything from preparing the soil and planting, tending, and harvesting crops to preparing meals using organically grown, in-season produce.

Natural Playscapes: Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul.
Keeler, Rusty
(Exchange Press , 2008)
500 color photographs and illustrations of extraordinary outdoor places for young children, where the entire space is filled with art, hills, pathways, trees, herbs, open areas, sand, water, and music, and where children find places to run, climb, dig, pretend, and hide, and the chance to bellow or be silent. 316p

Schoolyard Planning and Design in New Jersey Enhancing Outdoor Play and Learning. Adobe PDF
(New Jersey Institute of Technology, Center for Architecture and Building Science Research, New Jersey School OUtdoor Area Working Group , Aug 25, 2007)
Discusses the current state of New Jersey schoolyards and the importance of quality schoolyards for play, teaching, and community use. Five recommended strategies for creating more effective schoolyards are included, as is advice on the planning and design process, area and functional requirements, accessibility, parking, costs, and equipment. 25p.

Heading Out: Exploring the Impact of Outdoor Experiences on Young Children. Adobe PDF
Parsons, Graham
(Learning Through Landscapes, Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom , Feb 2007)
Describes how the outdoors can support the development of young children and how close contact with nature at an early age is vital in establishing an understanding of and caring ethos towards the natural world. The barriers which early years settings may need to overcome in order to make better use of their outdoors are often many and varied. They include limited resources, poor access, and low adult motivation and skills. The report laments the decline in the amount of time children spend outdoors, and discusses how the outdoors can potentially counteract the effects of relatively crowded indoor environments. Design implications, recommendations to early childhood practitioners, and the need for government support are also addressed. 67p.

DFES School Grounds of the Future: Final Evaluation Report. Adobe PDF
(Learning through Landscapes, London, United Kingdom , 2007)
Evaluates the United Kingdom Dept. for Education and Skills' three-year School Grounds of the Future program, which encouraged schools to improve their school grounds. Evidence of best practices, value added to funding, impact on the educational program, and six recommendations for the future are detailed. 54p.

How to Start a Garden in a Local School.
(National Gardening Association, South Burlington, VT, 2007)
This explains how to start with an indoor school garden, form a garden committee, make a plan, find a site, and develop community support.

The Growing Classroom. Garden-Based Science. [Revised edition]
Jaffe, Roberta; Appel, Gary
(Life Lab Science Program, 2007)
Teacher's manual featuring step-by-step instructions and strategies for setting up outdoor classroom activities and a garden-based science program. Topics include working together in the garden, growing, nutrients, garden ecology, climate, nutrition, gardening tips, food choices, and gardening tips. 496p.

Designing Schoolyards and Building Community. Adobe PDF
(Boston Schoolyard Initiative, MA , 2006)
Reviews the work of the Boston Schoolyard Initiative, which has worked to transform the city's typically paved and uninviting schoolyards into centers for learning and life. It accomplishes this through a public/private partnership that promotes sustainable development, experiential education, open space stewardship, and enlightened public policy. The Initiative creates recreational centers for the community and sets an example for schoolyard development that can be replicated elsewhere. 20p.

Green Schoolyard Resource Directory. Adobe PDF
Cooper, Tamar; Danks, Sharon
(San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance , 2006)
Offers a green schoolyard directory that blends traditional school garden resources with green building and ecological design principles, to create a single resource for all types of innovative school ground greening projects. The directory includes contacts for relevant local organizations, businesses and individuals on a variety of themes including places to find: plants, soil, and other garden-related materials, solar panels, water conservation systems, recycled materials, green schoolyard design expertise, environmental education curriculum resources, grant opportunities, and many other related topics. 52p.

The Outdoor Classroom.
Harriman, Hilary
(Corner to Learn, Swindon, United Kingdom , Jan 2006)
Advises on space needs, organization, design, program areas, surfaces, equipment, safety, and storage in outdoor learning environments for young students. The use of the outdoor learning environment in language skills, mathematical development, physical development, and creativity is illustrated, along with the role of the adult and three British case studies. 68p.

Designing Outdoor Environments for Children: Landscaping School Yards, Gardens and Playgrounds.
Tai, Lolly
(McGraw-Hill Professional, 2006)
Details the history, design process, installation, and maintenance of sustainable children's landscapes and play yards. Numerous case studies cover projects including storybook courtyards, music and barnyard gardens, nature trails, wildlife habitats, memorial, and edible gardens. 380p.

Retrofitting the American High School Campus: Thinking Green at Corcoran. Adobe PDF
Gordon, Samuel
(Master's Thesis, SUNY, Syracuse, NY , May 2005)
Explores the integration of the school curriculum with school grounds through the creation of a new environmental education center with associated outdoor learning areas within the Corcoran High School campus in Syracuse, New York. The project identifies specific precedents and programs and explores the application of these to the Corcoran site. The outcome of the project was the selection of a site for the new environmental education center, the development of program elements for the new center, initial site design explorations for the center, as well as a conceptual look at the future of the Corcoran campus. 70p.

School Grounds in Scotland: Research Report. Adobe PDF
McKendrick, John
(Scottish Poverty Information Unit, Glasgow , Apr 2005)
Presents the results of a survey of Scottish school grounds in 2003. It was found that concern over loss of school grounds seems disproportionate to the amount of land lost to development in recent times, that 19% of secondary schools have lost school grounds to development in the last ten years, and that 30% of secondary schools share their grounds with community groups. Also addressed were the character of school grounds, provision for sport, extra-curricular grounds use, use of the grounds as a learning resource, regulation and monitoring of grounds, challenges, and special educational needs. A list of 17 recommendations is included 159p.

Openluchtscholen in Nederland: Architectuur, Onderwijs en Gezondheidszorg 1905- 2005. (Open-Air Schools in the Netherlands: Architecture, Education, and Healthcare 1905- 2005)
Broekhuizen, Dolf
(Uitgeverij 010, Rotterdam , 2005)
Profiles 100 years of outdoor, open-air, and abundantly daylit Dutch schools. Principles of the necessity of fresh air to health and sanitation are discussed, accompanied by a chronologically arranged selection of supporting school projects. 239p.

Do School Grounds Have a Value as an Educational Resource in the Secondary Sector? Adobe PDF
Chillman, Barbara
(Learning through Landscapes, London, UK , 2005)
Reviews research into the benefits of developing secondary school grounds into learning environments. The small amount of research evidence into the use of secondary school grounds suggests that the benefits to the formal curriculum are largely those which accrue from any outdoor learning: increased understanding through the use of real-life contexts; increased student interest and motivation, partly due to the novelty of getting out of the classroom; use of different learning styles; and more collaborative relationships between students and teachers. In addition, there is some evidence to suggest that the use of school grounds offers specific benefits, particularly to environmental and citizenship learning due to the sense of student ownership that can be engendered, and in facilitating integration between indoor and outdoor lessons to generate longer-lasting impacts on students learning. Includes 53 references. 43p.

Outdoor Learning Environments: Evaluating Need, Success and Sustainability.
Hodge, Stacey
(Doctoral Dissertation, University of Texas, Arlington , Dec 2004)
Summarizes the needs for outdoor learning environments and the success in meeting those needs. Also provided is a list of critical elements, as determined by the participants, necessary to sustain successful outdoor learning environments. Since children spend an average of two thousand hours each year in at schoolyard which is commonly barren or paved, and seldom designed, the opportunity exists to give children, through outdoor learning environments, a place to establish attachments and daily contact with nature. Empowerment, a sense of ownership, experiential learning, community building, and lifelong learning are some of the positive effects that outdoor learning environments have on children, teachers, families, and communities. Participants in the research come from six different elementary and primary schools from Boston to San Francisco. The subjects consist of principals, teachers, students, and family and community members. The results of the research give insight into the design of outdoor learning environments with regard to needs, success in meeting the needs, and critical elements necessary for sustaining the outdoor learning environment. 133p.
Report NO: 1425131

TO ORDER: Proquest, 300 North Zeeb Road, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI, 48106-1346; Tel: 734-761-4700, Toll Free: 800-521-0600, email:

Grounds for Improvement Secondary Action Research Programme. Adobe PDF
(Learning Through Landscapes, Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom , Oct 2004)
Reports on 2001-2004 work to improve school grounds in England. Learning through Landscapes (LTL) worked in partnership with Sport England and the New Opportunities Fund to deliver a targeted program of school grounds improvements throughout England. With funding of £4.6 million, the Program involved 350 schools nationally with the aim of improving the use, design and management of their grounds for the benefit of the schools and their local communities. As part of this program, a group of six secondary schools participated in a more concentrated scheme called the Grounds for Improvement Secondary Action Research Programme (SARP). Following an introductory section, chapter 2 provides a conceptual overview of debates about secondary school grounds in England and recent research on school grounds internationally. Chapter 3 focuses on the methodology of the program, outlining the action research framework, data collection methods and case-study schools. Chapter 4 considers findings relating to the process of secondary school grounds improvement. Chapter 5 explores the evidence relating to the impacts of SARP in the case-study schools. The report concludes with a summary of the main lessons learnt, and a consideration of the implications for schools and school ground professionals. 65p.

Young Children's Relationship with Nature: Its Importance to Children's Development and the Earth's Future.
White, Randy
(White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group, Kansas City, MO , 2004)
Cites the decline of involvement with nature in children's lives, documentation of the benefits of experiences in nature to mental and physical well-being, and the role that nature schoolyards can play in transforming education and child well-being. The nature schoolyard is also advocated as a means to instill environmental awareness in children. Includes 76 references. 10p.

Evaluation Report on the Growing Upwards Project Part of the Growing Schools Initiative. Adobe PDF
White, Jan; Jameson, Neil
(Learning Through Landscapes, Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom , Jul 2003)
Presents an evaluation of Learning through Landscapes' Growing Upwards project from May 2002 to July 2003. The objectives of the program were to support the development of best practice in early childhood education through first hand experiences in horticulture, and to realize the full curriculum, child development, health, and community benefits of growing and harvesting food in early childhood settings. The many findings outlining high community and parental involvement, securing of additional funding, and particular benefit to multi-cultural areas are described. 12p.

School Grounds Literature Review. Adobe PDF
Casey, Theresa
(Learning Through Landscapes, Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom , Mar 2003)
Discusses school grounds in an overview; examination of the break time use of school grounds, including the social value of break time, tradition and culture in the playground, inclusion, supervision, trends and concerns; recommendations for change and school grounds including: the case for change, outdoor learning, and play spaces; and the current planning, programming and policy contexts. Includes 85 references. 29p.

Prototype: Enhanced Modular Childcare Facility. Adobe PDF
Davis, John; Nelsson, Anne; Philiposian, Diane; Anderson, Gretchen
(The Design Institute, Louisville, KY , 2003)
Presents a prototype modular early childhood facility, featuring the rotation of one modular of a 3-modular unit to break up the repetitive, boxlike nature typical of modulars. The turning of one unit creates new habitable spaces that can used for outdoor learning and as transitional entrance areas. 12p.

Where Do Our Children Play? The Importance and Design of Schoolyards.
Iltus, Selim; Steinhagen, Renee
(New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center, Newark, NJ , 2003)
The construction of new school facilities throughout New Jersey creates an enormous opportunity to address the need for outdoor facilities in New Jersey's poorest districts. This document summarizes some of the most relevant research on the need for outdoor educational facilities. It provides design guidelines for outdoor spaces for both preschool and elementary schools, and basic principles for design of outdoor facilities for athletics and environmental education for middle and high school students. 74p.
TO ORDER: New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center, 744 Broad Street, Suite 1600, Newark, NJ 07102. Tel: 973-735-0523.

Chicago School Garden Initiative. A Collaborative Model for Developing School Gardens That Work.
Johnson, Katherine A.; Bjornson, Marti Ross
(Chicago Botanic Garden, Center for Teaching and Learning, 2003)
This best practices manual tells the story of Chicago's successful School Garden Initiative (SGI), which worked on a districtwide basis to create and use school gardens as a setting for active discovery. The manual explains how this model can be applied to other localities nationwide. 71p.

Empowering Learning Through Natural, Human, and Building Ecologies.
Kobet, Robert J.
(Design Share, Minneapolis, MN. , Jan 2003)
This article asserts that it is critical to understand the connections between human ecology and building ecology to create humane environments that show inspiration and creativity and that also serve diverse needs. It calls for efforts to: (1) construct an environmental education approach that fuses the three ecologies (natural, human, and building); (2) recognize trends toward physical learning environments that are not located in traditional schools; (3) include all stakeholders in the exploration of the physical environment as an extension of the curriculum; (4) expand the number and diversity of subjects benefiting from a comprehensive built environmental education curriculum; and (5) continue to seek ways to make visible how buildings function and how they are connected to the greater community and environment at large. 5p.

Shade Planning for America's Schools. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA , 2002)
Assists schools in creating and maintaining a physical environment that supports sun safety by ensuring that school grounds have adequate shade. Information on planning and designing solid roof and fabric shade structures, as well as creating natural shade on school grounds is included. The effect of excessive sun exposure, the formation of the school shade design team, a shade audit, and funding are also described. 70p.

Science Facilities Standards K-12 (Texas Version)
Collins, James W.
(Charles A. Dana Center, University of Texas, Austin , 2002)
This provides Texas educators with state guidelines for the planning, construction, and maintenance of indoor science facilities and outdoor learning areas for Texas schools. It includes examples of floor plans for classrooms, laboratories, and storage rooms. Chapters include: 1) Laws, Rules, and Regulations; 2) Safety Equipment; 3) Furniture, Fixtures, and Accessories; 4) Room Design Standards; and 5) Outdoor Learning Environments. 232p.
TO ORDER: The University of Texas at Austin

Schoolyard Mosaics: Designing Gardens and Habitats
Pranis, Eve and Gifford, Amy
(National Gardening Association, South Burlington, VT, 2002)
The book offers advice on involving students in the planning and design process, building community support, and integrating the project with curriculum and learning goals. Includes 11 garden plans — from butterfly oases to history gardens — with companion stories on each project, suggestions for implementing a variety of thematic gardens, and an extensive resource section. 56p.

Schoolyard Habitats: A How-to Guide for K-12 School Communities.
(National Wildlife Federation, Reston, VA, 2001)
Three-ring binder that provides clear directions for those seeking to establish schoolyard habitats in new or renovated schools. Brief background and lists of further resources are provided on gardening for wildlife, teaching with schoolyard habitat sites, gathering information, assembling the elements and monitoring and maintaining projects once established. Includes a glossary, application for membership into the National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) Schoolyard Habitat program and NWF contact information. 217p.

Your School Grounds Handbook.
(Schoolscapes, Farnham, Surrey, England , 2001)
This handbook discusses the process of planning school grounds. It presents ideas for creating good educational landscapes and provides step-by-step procedures to achieve this goal. The steps include ground surveying and analysis, establishing community and school needs and wants, planning changes and preparing the design process, publicizing and consulting to get feedback on the proposals, selecting and establishing fundraising sources, implementing the plan and building its momentum, and incorporating maintenance and sustainability features in the planning. A checklist is offered to help planners assess whether the project addresses sustainability principles. Appendices focus on planning play areas. Topics discussed include play equipment, safety, surfacing, topography, and plants. Organizations are listed for addition information and support. 28p.

School Gardens: Raising Environmental Awareness in Children. Adobe PDF
Brynjegard, Shira
This paper explores the reasons for gardens and natural spaces on school campuses and the effects that such exposure to the natural world has on the students. Blending case studies, observational data, and personal experience, the paper discusses the impacts a garden has on the students who participate in it. During the evolution from rough landscape drawing to fully functioning educational environment, the balance of administrative, teacher, parent, and student involvement is used to determine the lasting effects the garden has on student attitudes toward environmental concerns. Elements of what makes a garden particularly effective at bridging the gap between the children and nature is highlighted and evidence of increased environmental awareness in the students is discussed. (Contains 17 references.) 30p.

Child's Play: An Empirical Study of the Relationship between the Physical Form of Schoolyards and Children's Behavior. Adobe PDF
Fisman, Lianne
(Yale University, New Haven, CT , 2001)
Reviews existing literature on the importance of nature experiences in child development. Also described is an exploratory study performed with two Connecticut third grade classes to assess the way children utilize the playgrounds, whether or not there is a difference in the behaviors of pupils with differing "popularity," the types of playground spaces and amenities different groups of children desire, and to lay a foundation for studies of the efficacy of playground designs in promoting social integration. Includes 45 references. 44p.

Landscapes for Learners: School Ground Guidelines. Adobe PDF
George, Linda
(Greening Schoolgrounds Program, Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada , 2001)
School grounds can and should support curriculum, protect children from health risks, and provide high-quality space in the community for educational and recreation. School community-based initiatives to green school grounds provide these benefits at comparatively little cost to school boards. These guidelines establish the educational rationale for creating landscapes for learners. The guidelines are primarily directed at school community groups (parents, teachers, students, and community members) who choose to design, establish, and maintain landscapes for learners on school grounds. Recommendations outline a pathway to change including the removal of barriers for school community-based initiatives on school grounds. The guidelines link the value of educational landscapes to the mandated British Columbia school curriculum. 18p.

Greening School Grounds: Creating Habitats for Learning.
Grant, Tim; Littlejohn, Gail, Ed.
(New Society Publishers, British Columbia, Canada , 2001)
Features step-by-step instructions for numerous schoolyard projects from tree nurseries to school composting to native plant gardens, along with ideas for enhancing learning by addressing diverse student needs. The guide includes detailed articles on rooftop gardens, multicultural gardens, far north gardens, desert gardens, butterfly gardens, ponds, and prairie restorations as well as more than a dozen schoolyard habitat options. For project planners there are practical tips on minimizing vandalism, maximizing participation, and raising funds. For teachers there are dozens of outdoor classroom activities and curriculum links, a bibliography of learning resources, and an up-to-date listing of funders and training organizations. 136p.
TO ORDER: Green Teacher, P.O. Box 1431, Lewiston, NY 14092; Tel: 416-960-1244.

Schoolyard Learning: The Impact of School Grounds. Adobe PDF
(Education Development Center, Global Learning Group, Newton, MA , Nov 2000)
This white paper utilizes a literature review and survey as the basis for comments about the influence of schoolyards on academic learning and child development. The researchers find that school grounds form an important albeit under-utilized part of the built environment. School grounds have a positive impact on social development, academic achievement, and on safety and physical well- being. The study also suggests characteristics that constitute outstanding schoolyards. It assesses the state of research on school grounds and presents a critique of existing knowledge. Appendices contain a partial bibliography, the survey on the impact of schoolyard learning programs, survey data, and a survey research summary table. 38p.

U.S. Access Board, Play Area Guidelines. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Access Board, Washington, DC , Oct 18, 2000)
The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board has issued guidelines to serve as the basis for enforceable standards to be adopted by the Department of Justice for new construction and alterations of play areas covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The guidelines include scoping and technical provisions for ground level and elevated play components, accessible routes, ramps and transfer systems, ground surfaces, and soft contained play structures. Included is an amendment, dated November 20, 2000, which clarifies a potential "double-counting" problem involving the minimum number of ground and elevated level play components that must be located on an accessible route. Also included are tables of equipment and ground surface costs, typical maintenance frequencies and costs, and the number of small entities affected by the guidelines. 33p.

Final Accessibility Guidelines for Play Areas: Economic Assessment. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Access Board, Washington, DC , Oct 2000)
Discusses and quantifies costs and benefits of the final accessibility guidelines for play areas issued by the Access Board. The guidelines are intended to provide minimum accessibility requirements for play areas designed for children ages two and over. The guidelines will affect children with disabilities, their parents, and owners and operators of play areas. The guidelines apply only to newly designed and newly constructed play areas and existing play areas that are altered. All newly designed, constructed and altered play areas must comply with the guidelines. 54p.

Environment-based Education: Creating High Performance Schools and Students
(The National Environmental Education & Training Foundation, Washington, DC, Sep 2000)
The report consists of a collection of case studies of schools in Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Florida that are using the environment to motivate students to learn and bring new life and meaning into their school experience. These studies document current evidence supporting the premise that, compared to traditional educational approaches, environment-based education provides academic performance across the curriculum. Findings show improvement in students' academic achievement, declining classroom discipline problems and increased ability to transfer knowledge to different academic situations. Use of school grounds for environmental education is described. Research on environmental education is included in an appendix. 47p.

Developing an Earth-bound Culture Through Design of Childhood Habitats. Adobe PDF
Moore, Robin; Cosco, Nilda G.
(Paper presented at Conference on People, Land, and Sustainability: A Global View of Community Gardening, University of Nottingham, UK. , Sep 2000)
A small but growing body of research indicates that daily experience of nature, spending time outdoors in the fresh air and sunlight, in touch with plants and animals, has a measurable impact on healthy child development. Nature must be seen as an essential component of the experiential world of childhood, designed into every childhood habitat, providing daily immersion in nature, putting children in close touch with the biosphere. Landscape designers should intervene in children's environments, involve children in the process, and create the necessary diversity of experience of the natural world to empower children as individuals to create a new, biologically wise society. 7p.

Magnuson Community Garden.
(Barker Landscape Architects, Seattle, WA, Aug 2000)
Documents the community involvement process undertaken to establish designs for a community garden adjacent to a school and community center in Seattle. Design alternatives are provided, as well as a project budget.

Designing Schools Based on Brain Research.[Audiotape]
Chermayeff, Peter; Townsend, Ted
(Presentation at the Learning and the Brain Conference, Washington, DC , May 03, 2000)
An audiotape explains an Iowa rainforest project that promotes experiential learning for children, and explores the effects of the physical environment on the brain. The project is a one-of-a-kind private/public partnership that has created a fully integrated, seamless educational facility that combines a public school (prekindergarten through fifth grade), teacher development/training center, rain forest (five acres), aquarium and mixed-media, and a large screen theater. It is suggested that the school's great drawing power and the profit it generates will allow the combination rain forest/public school facility to be self-supporting without an ongoing tax subsidy.

Design for Learning: Values, Qualities and Processes of Enriching School Landscapes. Adobe PDF
Johnson, Julie M.
(American Society of Landscape Architects, Washington, DC , 2000)
This paper presents learning values of school landscapes, as well as design qualities and processes that may enrich these landscapes for children and community. Concepts and issues are introduced with references and examples. These concepts are used as a lens to view three Seattle, Washington, case studies that illustrate varied contexts of school landscapes. Conclusions focus on conditons that are needed to make enriched school landscapes an integral part of childrens' learning and community life. 83p.
TO ORDER: American Society of Landscape Architects, 636 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001-3736; Tel: 202-898-2444, Toll free: 888-999-2752, Fax: 202-898-1185, Email:

The Need for Outdoor Recreational Space in Constructed and Natural Environments to Ensure Cognitive and Physical Well-Being.
Johnson, Liz; Steinhagen, Renee
(Education Law Center, Newark, NJ , 2000)
In response to the ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court on school buildings in the Abbott District, the Public Interest Law Center of New Jersey and the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy are providing urban school superintendents with the social science research and other support needed to guarantee the inclusion of outdoor educational and recreational space in their 5-year facilities plans. This is the preliminary research on the importance of outdoor play areas and athletic facilities for the cognitive, academic, social, and physical development of children. 11p.

Playing in Place: Why the Physical Environment is Important in Playwork.
Cosco, Nilda; Moore, Robin
(14th Playeducation Annual Play and Human Development Meeting: Theoretical Playwork. Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK , Jan 26, 1999)
The aim of this paper is to set down some of the theoretical dimensions of the physical environment to encourage playworkers to consider space and its content as a versatile, valuable support in playwork practice. An inviting sense of place allows children to express themselves, to interact and unfold their curiosity for the external world, including relations with the people around them. Place-enhancing processes, activated through play, help elaborate the place beyond the confines of everyday life, providing children with a sense of belonging, identity, and ownership–the culture of the place. The body (our personal, most private space) has a very dynamic relationship to external space that is so commonplace we often gloss over it. As we discover the body-in-space, the body-in-time appears as the companion, helping to complete the totality of body skills. The richer and more diverse the world is, the greater likelihood that places acquire anima locii. Regarding the potential play value of a diverse, changeable physical environment, one could say that a play program can only be as good as its physical environment and the playworkers’ skill in managing it to maximize the programming potential with the children. [Authors' abstract]

Conserving and Enhancing the Natural Environment. A Guide for Planning, Design, Construction, and Maintenance on New & Existing School Sites. [Maryland]
Bice, Barbara; And Others
(Maryland State Department of Education, Baltimore , 1999)
Natural environments on school sites provide considerable multi-disciplinary educational opportunities, many of which are "hands-on" experiences that stimulate learning. This document presents guidelines on conserving and enhancing the natural environment on school sites. It provides guidance for developing the site requirements in education specifications and designs for new building construction and major renovation and/or addition projects for existing schools. Appendices address funding sources available to Maryland educators to support school site habitat projects; and Maryland organizations that can offer assistance such as the forestry service, soil conservation district offices; and a list of data about Maryland native plants. (Contains 55 references.) 80p.
TO ORDER: Maryland Department of Education, School Facilities Branch, 200 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD 21201; Tel: 410-767-0098

The Outdoor Classroom: Educational Use, Landscape Design, and Management of School Grounds. Second Edition. Building Bulletin 71. Adobe PDF
Billmore, Brian; Brooke, John; Booth, Rupert; Funnell, Keith
(Department for Education and Employment, Architects and Building Branch, London, England , 1999)
Bulletin on school grounds development, highlighting the potential of these grounds as a valuable resource that can support and enrich the whole curriculum and the education of all pupils. Appendices include a landscape survey checklist, a list possible site features, a landscape brief for a new school, and a management policy statement of objectives. 75p.

The Edible Schoolyard.
Capra, Fritjof; Comnes, Leslie; Cook, Esther; Hawkins, David; Jackson, Wes; McCullough, Yvette; Waters, Alice
(Learning in the Real World; A Publication of the Center for Ecoliteracy, Berkeley, CA , 1999)
Introduces the Edible Schoolyard Project (ESP) in which students create a garden, watch it grow, and develop a bond with nature. Chapters include: (1) "Implications of the Edible Schoolyard Project" (Wes Jackson); (2) "A World of Possibilities" (Alice Waters); (3) "The Garden Experience" (David Hawkins); (4) "From the Kitchen and the Table" (Esther Cook); (5) "An Edible Schoolyard Recipe: Red Chard Wraps"; (6) "Nurturing a Climate for School Change"; (7) "A Conversation with Educators"; (8) "Developing Ecoliteracy" (Yvette McCullough); (9) "The Principles of Ecology"; (10) "Creativity and Leadership in Learning Communities" (Fritjof Capra); (11) "A Time-Tested Recipe" (Zenobia Barlow); (12) "About the Center for Ecoliteracy"; and (13) "About the Edible Schoolyard." 91p.

Play for All
Moore, Robin C.; Goltsman, Susan M.
(MIG Communications, Berkeley, CA , 1999)
A CD-ROM provides a tour of some of the world's greatest play environments, presenting 94 photographic images that illustrate the key concepts and recommendations from Play For All guidelines. It is organized into 10 categories covering a range of play area settings, including play equipment, sand settings, water settings, play props, and animal habitats.
TO ORDER: MIG Communications, 1802 Fifth St., Berkeley, CA 94710; Tel: 510-845-0953

Learning Through Landscapes School Grounds Toolkit and Activity Pack
Russell, Liz
(Learning through Landscapes Trust, Winchester, England , 1999)
This packet provides guidelines to help schools make the most of their school grounds and contains: a handbook; a loose leaf activity pack; video; and poster. The handbook provides information on each stage of the school ground development/change process, offers the rationale for improving school grounds, and lists the various resources and organizations available for assistance. The activity pack provides basic activities to support each stage in the change process. 102p.
TO ORDER: The Green Brick Road, 429 Danforth Ave., Ste. #408, Toronto, ON, Canada M4K 1P1; Tel: 800-473-3638 or 416-421-9816.

Educational Landscapes: Developing School Grounds as Learning Places Adobe PDF
Takahashi, Nancy
(University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson Center for Educational Design, Charlottesville, VA , 1999)
In response to today's concern for the environment and growing curricular demands to teach about the natural world, educators are discovering the power of a school's surrounding outdoors area as a teaching tool. This book presents an overview of educational landscapes and examines the pervasive attitudes and practices that have led to the undervaluing of the schoolyard environment, identifies specific steps to create successful educational landscapes, provides insights for integrating the schoolyard more fully into the school culture and pedagogy, and discusses how to sustain educational landscape programs over time. Examples of built educational landscapes from the United States and Britain are provided to illustrate the range of possibilities for school grounds. 63p.

Learning through Landscapes: Grounds for Examination. [Video]
Young, Jane
(Learning through Landscape Trust; Hampshire County Council, Winchester, England , 1999)
A 25-minute video describes the current condition of many of England's secondary school grounds and shows what can be done to improve them. Empowering students to help in redesigning the surrounding school grounds into a conservation area is described. Examples are provided showing how grounds influence student social relations; positively impact behavior; provide opportunities for specific nature clubs; and offer opportunities for physical activities, including those that consider students with physical and educational disabilities. Further, it explains the usefulness of school grounds for delivering the curriculum in environmental education as well as cross-curricular projects.

The School Site Planner. Land for Learning. Site Selection, Site Planning, Playgrounds, Recreation, and Athletic Fields. Adobe PDF
(Public Schools of North Carolina, State Board of Education, Dept. of Public Instruction, Raleigh , Jun 1998)
The report examines not only the site selection and planning processes, but also playground planning, recreation and athletic fields planning, and the North Carolina agencies and statutes that are involved. Specific considerations include analyses of the surrounding community or territory; of building access and security; of the surrounding natural environment and available support services; of landscaping, utilities, and vehicular traffic; and of playground equipment and safety. Final sections provide athletic field layouts for track and field events; football, soccer, and baseball fields; and basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts. 75p.

Digging Deeper: Integrating Youth Gardens Into Schools and Communities.
Kiefer, Joseph; Kemple, Martin; Manaugh, Melanie
(Food Works, 1998)
This book provides educators with practical, clear information on how to develop youth gardens in schools and communities. It shows how school gardening is an ideal vehicle to meet high educational standards and achieve learning results. 144p.

The Boston Schoolyard Initiative: An American City's Approach to Sustainable Schoolyard Development. Adobe PDF
Meyer, Kirk
(Paper presented at the Learning through Landscapes: Grounds for Celebration Conference , Sep 21, 1997)
This presentation describes the development process behind the Boston Schoolyard Initiative: a 5-year, inner city, community-driven initiative to transform neglected and unwelcome schoolyards into active centers of school and community use. Each phase of the initiative is discussed from community organizing through design, construction, and ongoing maintenance. The initiative shows sustainable schoolyard programs need total involvement from all potential users in the design and development phases, a focus on the multi-use approach, the integration of the school grounds into the life of the school, and inclusion of the school yard in future budgeting allocations. 8p.

School Grounds: A Guide to Good Practice. Adobe PDF
Funnell, Keith; Alford, Valerie; Denegri, Don; Johns, Sally; Young, Bob
(Department for Education and Employment, Architects and Building Branch, London, England , 1997)
Limited financial resources and increasing pressures of competing claims on school outdoor grounds have created the need for greater quality enhancement of these areas to ensure they are used efficiently. This document addresses the issues and principles affecting school grounds, provides an analysis of the benefits of using and developing these areas, and outlines the processes necessary for successful school ground management as advocated by Learning through Landscapes. Chapters examine why ground surveying is important; how the National Curriculum provides a framework for the need to teach in the outdoor classroom; and why schools should develop a clear justification for their management of breaks and lunch times, as well as the special nature of this experience and its connection with student behavior. Additionally explored are recent research on the hidden curriculum and how school ground design influences behavior, different options and their contractual arrangements for school ground maintenance, and resources for planning grounds changes. It discusses the importance of the process of developing school grounds and of student involvement. 140p.
TO ORDER: The Publications Centre, P.O. Box 276, London, SW8 5DT; Tel: 0171-873-9090; Fax: 0171-873-8200

Smaller Places for Special People? Adobe PDF
Firlik, Russell
As school enrollments increase, schools will need to expand their facilities and playgrounds. School construction and expansion is a part of the "hidden curriculum" of schools and affects children's learning processes. When school expansion is combined with the move from half day to full day kindergarten and increasing the time children spend at school, outdoor space for free play is reduced. Results of a British research study called "Special Places: Special People--The Hidden Curriculum of School Grounds" showed the importance of external environments for shaping children's learning and values. Findings included children's preference for natural environments over built environments and manufactured equipment, and the discrepancy between children's and adults' attitudes toward the value of external environments. American educators and administrators would do well to consider the extent to which children have freedom of access to external environments and to control this "hidden curriculum" for the benefit of the students. 11p.

Natural Learning: The Life of an Environmental Schoolyard. Creating Environments for Rediscovering Nature's Way of Teaching
Moore, Robin C.; Wong, Herb H.
(MIG Communications, Berkeley, CA , 1997)
The "Environment Yard" project is a 10-year effort to transform an ordinary asphalt schoolyard into a lush, naturalized environment. This book describes the project from which a natural extension of the classroom was created, reducing student boredom and antisocial behavior as they became engaged in the landscape. It instructs on how to naturalize a schoolyard into an outdoor classroom, provides innovative ways of teaching the basics in outdoor settings, and offers ideas on creating engaging play areas that foster positive behavior. 280p.
TO ORDER: MIG Communications, 800 Hearst Ave., Berkeley, CA 94710; Tel: 510-845-0953

Designing Landscapes for Learning: Transforming School Grounds Into "Special Places". Adobe PDF
Stine, Sharon
(American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Meeting Proceedings, Washington, DC , 1997)
Research on playground design in Japan and England offers challenges to the logic behind how playgrounds in the United States are designed. This paper presents observations of outdoor environments for children and youth in Japan and England where the space is not only useful and safe but also contributes to learning and play that reflects the regional and cultural elements of the surrounding community. It describes the educational, aesthetic, and environmental values embodied in these playgrounds and discusses the implications for school-ground design in the United States. Observations from both countries reveal a close connection between the inside and outside areas in playground design, but also show a very different attitude towards child privacy and socialization needs. 7p.

Landscapes for Learning: Creating Outdoor Environments for Children and Youth
Stine, Sharon
(John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY , 1997)
The purpose of this book is to help designers and teachers think about the quality of outside school environments as learning places. The first chapter defines the players' roles as: (1) the designer, a maker of school form; (2) the teacher, the maintainer of the environment; and (3) the child, who is a major force in the use of the space. These players, their roles, and their interactions are described, along with the forces that shape the players' interactions. Chapter 2 places the players in a setting and, by describing the dimensions of this setting, explores a common vocabulary. The nine pairs of contrasting elements essential in any play environment are also introduced. Chapter 3 describes the process of development of outside space in two schools over an 80-year time span, and Chapter 4 presents an analysis of the process of finding a fit or congruence between a physical setting and the users of the setting. Chapter 5 describes four design elements and summarizes their implications via case studies. Chapter 6 focuses on adults and research into the variety of educational settings and adult responses to them. The final chapter focuses on the potential of outside spaces to be safe settings for learning. 244p.
TO ORDER: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., One Wiley Drive, Somerset, NJ 08875; Tel: 908-469-4400

Understanding the Design Process for Outdoor Play & Learning Environments
Stoecklin, Vicki L.
(White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group, Kansas City, MO, 1997)
This piece provides guidance to those who will be working with design professionals to create outdoor learning environments. The components of a design proposal are listed and explained and recommendations for the composition of a design team are provided. Information is intended to help site owners become better clients. 3p.

Children's Outdoor Play & Learning Environments: Returning to Nature
White, Randy; Stoecklin, Vicki L.
(White Hutchinson Leisure and Learning Group, Kansas City, MO , 1997)
Why typical playgrounds are designed the way they are by adults is discussed, including what the ideal outdoor play/learning environment for children is and how the outdoor space should be considered as an extension of the classroom. The paper emphasizes the importance of nature to children, discusses the criteria playground designers should possess, and explains why it is essential for the design process to include input from children, teachers, parents, and maintenance staff. 7p.

Grounds for Learning: A Celebration of School Site Developments in Scotland. Adobe PDF
Kenny, Kate
(Learning Through Landscape Trust, Winchester, England , 1996)
This manual contains ideas and descriptions of some of the best ways Scottish schools can use and develop their grounds. Chapters examine the process of change from getting started, planning, and making the changes necessary. Specific topics include setting up the management structure, surveying the school grounds, identifying needs and solution planning, implementing and adjusting the plans, dealing with multicultural issues, linking ground development with the curriculum, and addressing special needs issues. Case studies are included. 94p.

A Legacy of Us: Maintaining and Managing Your School Grounds. Adobe PDF
Layzell, Julie; Rogers, Nicola; Flatt, Graham
(Learning through Landscape Trust, Winchester, England; Hampshire County Council Schools Landscape Project, England , 1996)
This manual and videotape provides guidance on establishing effective school ground maintenance and management practices that link the grounds development phases with appropriate management. The video provides an overview of the key issues by showing approaches adopted by five different schools, and the manual explores these issues in greater detail offering additional outline information on the practice of maintenance and management of school grounds as well as a resource directory of organizations and contacts who can give support to schools. 35p.
TO ORDER: The Green Brick Road, 429 Danforth Ave., Ste. 408, Toronto, ON, Canada M4K 1P1; Tel: 800-473-3638.

The Challenge of the Urban School Site Adobe PDF
Martin, Deborah, Ed.; Lucas, Bill, Ed.; Titman, Wendy, Ed.; Hayward, Siobhan, Ed.
(Learning Through Landscape Trust, Winchester, England , 1996)
This guidebook provides information on improving urban school grounds to enhance children's lives. Chapters provide the experiences from other schools on the topics of greening the urban school grounds; the multi-cultural aspects of developing urban school grounds; organization of limited space; issues involving seating, shelter, and raised structures; and playground art. The unique difficulties involved in secondary school ground development are addressed in the areas of curriculum linkage, social needs, and the management and organization of change. Additionally discussed are areas of special consideration in urban school grounds development, such as vandalism prevention, school security, tarmac removal, and new surface installation. Resource information is provided along with a list of schools and their locations which have created winning grounds development schemes. 110p.

Thinking about Seating in Your School Grounds.
Russell, Liz
(Learning Through Landscapes Trust, Winchester, England , 1996)
The Learning Through Landscape Trust's CD-ROM explores the issues connected with choosing, developing, locating, and using seating in school grounds. Designed to be used by teachers with pupils of all ages, the computer program includes sections on resources, maintenance, history, and pupil activities.
TO ORDER: The Green Brick Road, 429 Danforth Ave., Ste. #408, Toronto, ON, Canada M4K 1P1; Tel: 800-473-3638 or 416-421-9816.

Twenty/Twenty: Projects and Activities for Wild School Sites. An Ohio Project Wild Action Guide. Adobe PDF
Schiff, Paul D.
(Ohio Division of Wildlife, Education Section, Columbus, OH , 1996)
This book presents 20 projects and 20 activities designed to encourage students and teachers to use the school site as part of an environmental education program with the focus on creating a place for wildlife. The projects and activities coincide with other materials from Project WILD and are easily adaptable by teachers at any grade level. The objectives of each project and activity focus on learner outcomes and hands-on application. They also provide opportunities for multi-disciplinary resources. 117p.

Grounds for Sharing: A Guide To Developing Special School Sites. Adobe PDF
Stoneham, Jane
(Learning Through Landscape Trust, Winchester, England , 1996)
The Learning through Landscape Trust conducted research on the design and management of school grounds for children with special needs and has produced this guidebook detailing what research shows about ensuring that the school grounds benefit these students. It provides advice and information on developing school grounds that are long-term and sustainable, that help maximize and encourage abilities and overcome children's particular challenges, and involve children with diverse needs with their adult carers wherever possible. The outline of the research and its findings are provided followed by information on the school ground planning process; accessibility design of school grounds; landscaping design; animals that can be included, horticultural issues; and planning issues for enhancing social use, sensory experience, and physical activities. Concluding sections present nine case studies and resources for guidance in fundraising; and information on special needs, outdoor design, use and management, and help for construction and management work. 88p.
Report NO: 141

Weaving a Tapestry of Resistance: The Places, Power, and Poetry of a Sustainable Society.
Sutton, Sharon E.; Giroux, Henry A., Ed.; Freire, Paulo, Ed.
(Bergin and Garvey , 1996)
This book examines the educational, social, and physical environment of two elementary schools that are located in contrasting socioeconomic settings, revealing the importance of "place" in human lives and learning. It draws from systematic observations conducted over a three-year period, presenting the schools and their inhabitants through a fictionalized narrative intended to help readers better understand how the material conditions of poverty and wealth impact children's world view without compromising the identity of the participants. The book concludes with the author's vision of education in a sustainable society, which is presented through three case studies of innovations in New York City. 236p.

Creating Environments for Young Children. Adobe PDF
Sanoff, Henry
(North Carolina State Univ., School of Design, Raleigh , 1995)
The planning and design of child care centers has been undertaken without sufficient knowledge of children's spatial behavior, resulting in centers not providing appropriate physical conditions for young children's developmental needs. This workbook contains exercises and other learning materials for young students that follow principles of good design in the following units: (1) "Goal Setting"; (2) "What Is a Learning Environment," including components of a learning center, along with how to create and rate learning centers; (3) "Playroom Design Principles," focusing on light and color, planning, and modeling the playroom; (4) "Building Image"; (5) "Planning the Facility"; and (6) "Planning Outdoor Play," including play zones, planning outdoor play (POP), playground safety, playground document scale, and mapping children's behavior. 124p.

Exploring School Nature Areas. [Video]
(Project WILD, Gaithersburg, MD, 1994)
This 13-minute video was produced in cooperation with St. Olaf College's "School Nature Area Project." It is designed to inspire students and educators to take positive action for the environment, and it provides examples of outdoor classrooms around the country. It also shows how science, social studies, math, art, and other subject areas are reinforced in school nature areas.
TO ORDER: Project WILD, 707 Conservation Lane, Suite 305; Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878; Tel: 301-527-8900.

Special Places; Special People: The Hidden Curriculum of School Grounds. Adobe PDF
Titman, Wendy
(World Wide Fund for Nature, Surrey, England; Learning through Landscape Trust, Winchester, England , 1994)
The research project, Special Places; Special People, is designed to provide insight and advice in the management of schools and their grounds for the benefit of children. This document describes the project's research methodology and findings, explores some of the wider implications arising from the study, and suggests ways in which schools might embark upon effecting change. Research findings are discussed on how children read the external environment and school grounds. Issues arising from these findings examine the importance of school grounds to children in a modern society, the messages school grounds convey about the ethos of schools, and children's attitudes and behavior that are determined by the school grounds and the way they are managed. 140p.

WILD School Sites: A Guide to Preparing for Habitat Improvement Projects on School Grounds
(Project WILD, Gaithersburg, MD, 1993)
This guide helps students and teachers learn about the importance of biodiversity, understand the basic steps of creating a wildlife habitat, develop a plan for action, and gain community support. The goal of this guide is to assist educators and their students in using school grounds to take responsible action to improve their communities for people and wildlife. 64p.
TO ORDER: Project WILD, 707 Conservation Lane, Suite 305, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, Tel:301-527-8900.

Plants for Play: A Plant Selection Guide for Children's Outdoor Environments.
Moore, Robin C.
(MIG Communications, Berkeley, CA , 1993)
This book presents guidelines in the design and management of children's landscapes and reveals the importance of plants as a resource for play and child development. It identifies plants by function, i.e. their sensory values, play values, food production, seasonal interest, shade quality, screens against natural barriers, wildlife enhancement, erosion control, and drought tolerance. Poisonous plants and pesticides are addressed as is information on plant hardiness by geographic location. An index of plant names is included. 121p.
TO ORDER: MIG Communications, 800 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94710; Tel: 510-845-7549

Wildlife and the School Environment. Adobe PDF
(Learning through Landscapes Trust, Winchester, England , 1992)
This booklet explores various ways that environmental learning opportunities can be created at elementary schools by utilizing school facilities and surrounding school grounds. The first two chapters include advice that educators can use to develop proposals for improving the school grounds' environmental condition and some basic principles to consider when using school grounds for environmental teaching. Subsequent chapters explain how to create environmental learning opportunities using not only the school building, but hard-surfaced areas, ponds, grasslands, wildflowers, insect gardens, and woodlands. Five case studies are included along with a list of additional resources for further information. 35p.

Play for All Guidelines: Planning, Design, and Management of Outdoor Play Settings for All Children. Second Edition.
Moore, Robin C., Ed.; Goltsman, Susan M., Ed.; Iacofano, Daniel S., Ed.
(MIG Communications, Berkeley, CA. , 1992)
These guidelines assist professional designers, park and recreation managers, and community groups when making decisions about the planning, design, and ongoing management of children s public play environments. The guidelines are updated to meet or exceed the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act Guidelines (July 26, 1991) and the revised Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines (1991). The first two of four parts cover site planning and design, and setting design and management. Part 3 examines the Play For All guidelines being used to help rebuild a public playground with emphasis on improving accessibility and providing amenities for all people. Finally, Part 4 provides an overview of play programming and management for integration of all children. 300p.
TO ORDER: MIG Communications, 800 Hearst Ave., Berkeley, CA 94710; Tel: 800-790-8444

Playground Design and Mainstreaming Issues: Beyond Ramps.
Esbensen, Steen B.
(Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Denver, CO , 1991)
This paper identifies issues confronting early childhood educators who want to integrate children with special needs with others, and the implications of such integration for the design of outdoor play settings. The paper focuses on the ambiguity involved when developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education meets trends in playground design. It is emphasized that playground equipment needs to provide opportunities and challenges appropriate to the age and development of children. It is important to create an outdoor play setting abundant in: (1) aspects of nature; (2) furniture and shade that allow for creative and social experiences; (3) a variety of surface textures, materials, and loose parts for children to touch and manipulate; and (4) space that allows children to move around, interact with nature, socialize, and challenge their physical dexterity. 6p.

Learning Through Landscapes: Using School Grounds as an Educational Resource. Adobe PDF
Young, Kirsty
(Learning Through Landscape Trust, Winchester, England , 1990)
All schools need a variety of size, shape, type, and texture in their grounds to provide an opportunity for play, study, and shelter. This booklet provides 13 case studies of English sites illustrating some of the most imaginative work taking place in school grounds, and outlines action plans for changing grounds. Photographs and design drawings of grounds accompany each entry. Also provided are a pull-out chart outlining the grounds design action plan and information about the Learning Through Landscape Trust. 22p.

Planning Outdoor Play: A Manual Organized To Provide Design Assistance to Community Groups.
Sanoff, Henry
(Humanics Limited, Atlanta, GA , 1982)
This manual, based on the collective experience of various community groups, explores the steps for planning community playgrounds from the original inspiration to the final workday. It covers the planning approach, including community meeting management, committee development, safety issues, equipment options, funding, site selection, and communication topics. Also addressed is publicity and putting the entire plan into action. Appendices present a playground design game, handmade equipment layout planning, and a case study of the design process. 97p.
TO ORDER: Humanics Limited, P.O. Box 7447, Atlanta, GA 30309

School Zone: Learning Environments for Children
Taylor, Anne P.; Vlastos, George
(School Zone Publishing Company, New York, NY , 1975)
Architectural solutions to some educational problems are explored and a systematic method is presented for designing schools as learning environments for children. The book demonstrates a way of using curriculum as a design determinant and offers design ideas based on experimental research. Based on the assumption that physical setting does contribute to learning, it suggests ways to modify indoor and outdoor educational spaces so that they are an integral part of the learning process. 144p.

Places for Environmental Education. A Report. Adobe PDF
(Educational Facilities Laboratories, New York, NY , Jul 1971)
Compiles conference discussions on the implications of various types of facilities on environmental education programs. The conference participants included architects, landscape architects, planners, government leaders and educators. The consensus of these 26 participants can be summarized as follows: 1) environmental education is not just a passing fad; 2) facilities facilitate learning; 3) the methodology of environmental education is best centered around an interdisciplinary approach; 4) major capital expenditures are not necessary for schools to mount effective programs in environmental education. 19p.

References to Journal Articles

A Genius Idea
EDC Magazine; May 24, 2012
Description and photos of the outdoor play and learn area at All Saints School in Norwalk, Connecticut that promotes play and an understanding of the physical sciences and energy conservation. The environmental activities within the playground are dovetailing with a school STEM curriculum being taught in the classroom.

School Design and Students’ Relationships with the Natural World
Indira Dutt
Children, Youth and Environments; v22 n1 , p198-226 ; Spring 2012
This qualitative study is an exploration of intermediate students’ experience of the natural world as mediated by indoor/outdoor elements. The fieldwork for this project was conducted in the spring of 2009 at Bowen Island Community School in British Columbia. The research includes data collected from two focus groups, semi- structured interviews, photographs and fieldnotes. Using thematic analysis, the research found that indoor/outdoor interfaces and the presence of both gardens and forest as play environments provided students with a sense of freedom, joy, social cohesiveness and aesthetic pleasure in relation to their physical learning environment. Results are discussed in terms of future school design and other relevant student impacts. [Author's abstract]

Green School Grounds: A Collaborative Development and Research Project in Malmö, Sweden
Märit Jansson and Fredrika Mårtensson
Children, Youth and Environments; v22 n1 , p260-269 ; Spring 2012
School ground greening projects may result in a multitude of benefits for pupils, schools and entire communities. This field report describes a project called “Green school grounds” in Malmö, Sweden and an interdisciplinary research project investigating vegetation establishment and management as well as the effects of the project for children. The project consulted researchers and involved teachers and children at the schools during the process of planning and construction. This field report presents the first results from a pretest evaluation of school ground activity at two schools, part of a larger intervention study. [Authors' abstract]

German Forest Kindergartens: Healthy Childcare under the Leafy Canopy
Silvia D. Schäffer and Thomas Kistemann
Children, Youth and Environments; v22 n1 , p270-279 ; Spring 2012
A forest kindergarten is a special form of daycare, with walks, free play and environmental education in the forest on the daily schedule. Attending a forest kindergarten can contribute to children’s healthy development and is associated with physical activity, concentration, mental health, linguistic development and the prevention of infections. Drawing from systematic observations of 12 German forest kindergartens, this report presents an insight into their daily routines, their surrounding landscape and other essential characteristics. [Authors' abstract]

Learning by Experience
Kollie, Ellen
School Planning and Management; , p60-63 ; Jan 2012
Experts describe what needs to be considered when designing outdoor learning spaces to ensure that they are useful: ownership, maintenance, community use, shade, storage and connection, and variety. Includes a discussion of the benefits of play for cognitive thinking.

Room to Grow.
Hough, Mark
Landscape Architecture; v101 n8 , p114-115,118,120,122 ; Aug 2011
Uses example of the botanic garden at University of Chicago to cite other examples of arboretums and gardens included in college and university campuses.

An Assessment of Schoolyard Renovation Strategies to Encourage Children's Physical Activity
Peter Anthamatten, Lois Brink, Sarah Lampe, Emily Greenwood, Beverly Kingston and Claudio Nigg
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity; Apr 2011
Children in poor and minority neighborhoods often lack adequate environmental support for healthy physical development and community interventions designed to improve physical activity resources serve as an important approach to addressing obesity. In Denver, the Learning Landscapes (LL) program has constructed over 98 culturally-tailored schoolyard play spaces at elementary schools with the goal to encourage utilization of play spaces and physical activity. In spite of enthusiasm about such projects to improve urban environments, little work has evaluated their impact or success in achieving their stated objectives. This study evaluates the impacts of LL construction and recency of renovation on schoolyard utilization and the physical activity rates of children, both during and outside of school, using an observational study design.

Investigating Children’s Physical Activity and Play in Green School Grounds: Reflections on Methods and Initial Results from Pilot Work
Dyment, Janet E.; Reid, Alan D.
Children, Youth and Environments; v28 n1 ; Winter 2011
This paper discusses five data collection methods that have been used as part of a pilot study investigating the relationship between school ground design, physical activity, and quality of play. Five simple procedures were tested at a Canadian school with green school grounds. The paper describes the purpose and features of each method, presents illustrative material, reflects on contexts for and strengths and weaknesses of the data collection methods, and offers recommendations for future research.

How Does Your Garden Grow?
Nissel, Barbara
American School Board Journal; v198 n1 , p24-27 ; Jan 2011
Profiles the school garden of Pennsylvania's Great Valley School District. With the help of students and families, the large garden is planted in the Spring and tended over the Summer. Produce harvested in the Summer is frozen by food service staff to be used in the cafeterias. The educational benefits of learning about agriculture and healthy food are cited, as are savings on food expenditures.

Roofing: A Growth Opportunity.
Vorley, Wade
Maintenance Solutions; v19 n1 , p11,12,14 ; Jan 2011
Describes challenges and benefits of vegetative roofs and summarizes the challenges and considerations for installation and maintenance.

The Outdoor Environment in Norwegian Kindergartens as Pedagogical Space for Toddlers' Play, Learning and Development.
Moser, Thomas; Martinsen, Marianne T.
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal; v18 n4 , p457-471 ; Dec 2010
This study examines some characteristics of the outdoor environment in Norwegian kindergartens. Understood as pedagogical space, outdoor conditions may enhance or restrict the youngest children's possibilities for play, learning and development. The findings indicate that Norwegian children spend a significant amount of time in kindergarten outdoors, 70% and 31% in summer and winter semester respectively. Norwegian children also have large outdoor areas in their institutions; the average size is 2600 square meters. Head teachers and pedagogical leaders seem to be satisfied with the quality of the outdoor environment in their institutions. (Authors' abstract)

Green Schoolyards as an Element of Reform.
Meyer, Kirk
Education Week; Sep 01, 2010
Lists ten reasons to have an outdoor classroom in every schoolyard. The outdoor classroom ties the built environment to the natural history and native processes surrounding the school.

State of Play.
Olsen, Heather; Hudson, Susan; Thompson, Donna
American School Board Journal; v197 n8 , p27-29 ; Aug 2010
Laments the frequent neglect of outdoor learning environments, and advises on creating a safe outdoor environment by describing standards, listing resources, and outlining general principles for layout, safety, accessibility, equipment, and environment.

Site Headaches Can Be a Gift for Students.
Way, Nancy
Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce; Jul 22, 2010
Discusses the inclusion of wetlands on school sites as a resource for outdoor learning environments, rather than as an obstacle that needs to be remediated.

Public Outcry Increasingly Becoming Safeguard of University Forests.
Straka, Thomas
Planning for Higher Education; v38 n4 , p52--60 ; Jul 2010
Examines the quantity of forestland owned by universities, and how they are used for field instruction, research, demonstration, and minimally, timber production. Public outcry against generating revenue from timber production is discussed, as is the conflict between using the forests for recreation versus keeping them pristine, either by preservation or restoration. Thirteen references are included.

A Growing Project.
Bauer, Gerri
College Planning and Management; v13 n4 , p68-71 ; Apr 2010
Documents introducing an organic garden at Stetson University, a program named "Hatter Harvest." Students participate in planting, maintaining, and harvesting the organic produce, both for healthy eating and also as a learning experience.

Making Use of "Nature" in an Outdoor Preschool: Classroom, Home and Fairyland
Anggard, Eva
Children, Youth and Environments; v20 n1 , p4-25 ; 2010
Discusses different ways of talking about and making use of nature in everyday activities in a Swedish preschool with an outdoor focus. The researcher studied 32 children between 1½ and 6 years old and their teachers during a one-year period. The analysis indicates that nature is used in three ways: as a classroom where children learn about nature, as a home (a peaceful place for eating, sleeping and playing), and as an enchanted world. 34 references are included.

Outdoor Affordances in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings: Adults' and Children's Perspectives
Kernan, Margaret
Children, Youth and Environments; v20 n1 , p152-177 ; 2010
Explores the experience of the outdoors in early childhood education in urban areas. It is based on fieldwork conducted in four settings in Dublin, Ireland in 2005, considering young children's experiences of the outdoors in terms of perceived and utilized affordances. These are analyzed in relation to three fields of action in early childhood education and care settings: indoor-outdoor connectedness, enclosed outdoor space, and the wider outdoors. Such a framework, it is proposed, offers a useful means to evaluate outdoor provision of services for young children. 33 references are included.

Farm to Fork. [School Lunches Go Back to the Land.]
Smith, Fran
Edutopia; v5 n6 , p34-38 ; Dec 2009
Profiles the work of Anthony Geraci in the the Baltimore School District. He first converted the menu to present more locally sourced and fresh food. He then created the student-operated Great Kids Farm Up within abandoned city-owned greenhouses. Progress in creating a more sustainable and lower-waste food service in three additional U.S. school systems is also discussed.

Exploring Outdoor Education and Research in Architecture.
Rodriguez, Pedro; Boehme, Luis
Open House International; v34 n1 , p94-103 ; Mar 2009
Examines a few exemplary cases from an ongoing series of trials, started in 1999 by the Department of Architecture at the Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria, to assess the effective integration of outdoor learning environments with local studio-based learning culture. Architectural design pedagogy persistently looks outside the classroom for real-world problems to deal with, and exemplary solutions to learn from. Studio-based learning alternately takes place between indoor and outdoor environments as well as built and natural environments. The use of outdoor workspaces where students may generate and test their design proposals strengthens the case for a better understanding of human habitability and environmental sustainability. Nonetheless, outdoor activities are traditionally confined to on-site information gathering, whereas design and evaluation processes are carried out indoors simply as a desk-bound activity. In these cases, the empirical evidence to back up the problem modeling and the design decisions made inside the studio classroom is missing. In mainstream architecture education, indoor and outdoor learning experiences are operationally dissociated. The intent to create real outdoor studio classrooms not only opens a new research field in learning space design, but new challenges to the studio-based learning culture.

The Building as the Teacher. Adobe PDF
Mason, Craig
Educational Facility Planner; v43 n4 , p31,32,34-36 ; 2009
Profiles Pioneer Middle School in DuPont, Washington. Through collaboration with administration and teachers, the building became a learning tool stressing environmental stewardship. Signage explaining how design reduces the building’s environmental impact, touchscreens that illustrate the buildings utilities usage, and outdoor learning areas are described.

Learning Outside the Classroom.
Nichols, Helen
21 Century Schools; v4 n1 , p47-57 ; 2009
Explores some of the drivers for change in outdoor learning, and reviews some British examples with pupil-led choice and responsibility at the heart of each offer. Examples include an inner-city nursery and children’s center, an early childhood school, two sustainable elementary schools, a secondary comprehensive school of engineering, and a city farm.

Playful, but Not a Playground.
Carlock, Marty
Landscape Architecture; v98 n12 , p86B93 ; Dec 2008
Profiles the Boston Children's Museum's outdoor plaza, which provides an educational play area. The installation includes a pavement maze, native gardens, and rock formations.

Planning Ideas to Consider Prior to Construction and Renovation.
Releford, Devin
American School and Hospital Facility; v31 n5 , p14,16,18 ; Sep-Oct 2008
Profiles thoughtful new landscaping and renovations at Atlanta's Lovett School, where scattered parking was consolidated into a new deck, creating room for LEED-certified new and renovated buildings and athletic fields, as well as a more sustainable landscape that includes stormwater retention and an outdoor learning environment.

Nature's Classroom.
Beuttell, Kevin
School Planning and Management; v47 n7 , p22-25 ; Jul 2008
Describes the advantages of natural landscaping on school grounds, including lower maintenance costs, environmental friendliness, and opportunities for outdoor learning. Advice on site selection and preparation, plant selection, and maintenance is included.

The Benefits of a Campus Arboretum.
Kollie, Ellen
College Planning and Management; v11 n7 , p22-25 ; Jul 2008
Discusses the benefits of a campus arboretum to beautification, student and employee recruitment and retention, education, donor cultivation, school-community relations, historic preservation, and even food production. Advice on planning, funding, and maintaining an arboretum is also included.

Grounds for Health: The Intersection of Green School Grounds and Health-Promoting Schools.
Bell, Anne C.; Dyment, Janet E.
Environmental Education Research; v14 n1 , p77-90 ; Feb 2008
Despite the growing body of research on green school grounds, relatively little has been written about their relationship with health promotion, particularly from a holistic health perspective. This paper explores the power and potential of green school grounds to promote health and well-being and to be an integral element of multifaceted, school-based health promotion strategies. Specifically,it brings together recent research to examine green school grounds as places where the interests of educators and children's health advocates can meet, inform and support one another. Highlights the growing body of evidence that green school grounds, as a school setting, can contribute to children's physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being.

Building Blueprints: Connect with Courtyards.
Lentz, Michael; Monberg, Gregory
School Planning and Management; v46 n12 , p44,45 ; Dec 2007
Reviews benefits of thoughtfully designed school courtyards, and typical uses such as dining, outdoor learning, and special events. Suggestions for design, security, technology integration, and maintenance are included.

Landscape to Educate.
Jacobson, John
School Planning and Management; v46 n10 , p20,22,24,25,27 ; Oct 2007
Reviews opportunities for community use and outdoor learning through thoughtful design of the school facility landscape. Examples of how three Maine schools provide outdoor learning and community access to athletic fields are included.

How Does Your Schoolyard Grow?: A Green Playground Extends the Classroom Outdoors.
Rapaport, Richard
Edutopia; Oct 01, 2007
Profiles the natural schoolyard and playground features of San Francisco schools, including a water pump set in a plot of dirt ready to make mud for castles, dams, flood plains, and related projects, as well as an edible schoolyard and planting of formerly asphalt areas. The movement to "green" California schoolyards is profiled also.

Your Outdoor Spaces.
Exchange: The Early Childhood Leaders' Magazine ; n177 , p76-81 ; Sep-Oct 2007
This article presents a sampling of great design ideas, using photographs and brief descriptions, of creative elements incorporated into outdoor environments. The design ideas were sent by readers of "ExchangeEveryDay" e-newsbrief from their early childhood programs and include the following: (1) pathway, garden, sound, or texture features; (2) elements that invite exploration, physical challenge; (3) special places for social interaction; (4) solutions to a challenging problem; and (5) ideas for inclusion.

The Feel of a Watershed.
Viani, Lisa
Landscape Architecture; v97 n8 , p24,26-28,30-32,34-39 ; Aug 2007
Profiles the Cedar River Watershed Education Center, which teaches Seattle area students about their water supply, the watershed they live in, the water cycle, and conservation. Building and landscape features, as well as portions of the educational program are discussed.

Variety Is the Spice of Education! (Part 1)
Schooldesigner Newsletter; n11 ; Jul 2007
Addresses design of outdoor learning spaces, citing several exmplary American learning landscapes. Design basics, landscaping, and connection to their respective adjacent indoor spaces are discussed.

Four Strong Schools: Developing a Sense of Place through School Architecture.
Upitis, Rena
International Journal of Education & the Arts; v8 i1 , p1-16 ; Jun 2007
The premise is that students should be schooled in built and natural environments that afford them ways of understanding how their daily physical actions and social choices affect the earth. Views of prominent philosophers and scholars in support of this premise are described. Next, four cases illustrate how schools can provide students with opportunities to develop ecological mindfulness through practical activities that are enhanced by natural and built environments. The examples--from Canada, the United States, and Australia--span the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of education. It is concluded that schools and curricula that focus on a sense of place are able to support the practical activities that lead to meaningful relationships between members of the community, and between people and the land. [Authors' abstract]

A New Urbanist Model of Learning.
VanderVoort, Mark
School Planning and Management; v46 n6 , p74-77 ; Jun 2007
Profiles the Walker Creek Elementary School in North Richland Hills, Texas. The new school in a new residential development is conceived as a community center, and features outdoor learning areas, team teaching studios, informal gathering spaces, and commons areas instead of corridors.

Going "Green" for Sustainability's Sake.
Learning By Design; n16 , p182 ; 2007
Narrates the experience of the Whitmore Lake, Michigan, community in building a LEED-certified high school that included preservation and moving of an historic farmhouse on the site and construction of a pond onsite that serves as a stormwater retention basin, outdoor classroom, and a component of a geothermal HVAC system.
TO ORDER: Learning by Design; Email:

How to Get Started with a School Garden Project.
Nicholson, Casey
(, Seattle, WA, 2007)
Advises on organizing a school gardening project, including choosing the location, obtaining the supplies, plant selection, and land preparation. 2p.

A New Slant on Preschool.
Sullivan, C. C.
Architectural Record; Supplement , p104,105 ; Jan 2007
Profiles the custom prefabricated construction of the two-classroom Montessori Children's Center in San Francisco The spatial programming and design ideas respond to the curriculum by emphasizing the connection to nature and the distinction between indoors and outdoor. Plans, photographs, and a list of project participants are included.

Educational Facilities for Young Children. Adobe PDF
Meade, Anne
PEB Exchange; , p1-5 ; Nov 2006
Examines Maori cultural influences on indoor/outdoor spaces a learning in a New Zealand school, along with a multi-faith, multi-needs campus in Scotland that emphasizes shared facilities.

Why Outdoor Spaces for Children Matter So Much.
Wike, James
Child Care Exchange; Sep-Oct 2006
Describes principles learned by a team of landscape architects and educators working together to provide outdoor settings for child care centers and schools. Case study of a demonstration outdoor classroom in Nebraska City, Nebraska, that serves children from ages 2 to 10.

Landscape Learning.
Black, Susan
American School Board Journal; v193 n3 , p46-48 ; Mar 2006
Describes a variety of school grounds landscaped for outdoor learning and the benefits these environments offer. Reluctance in some areas to create these environments is cited, as is research and observation into the nature and benefit of play to learning. A list of signs that indicate a successful learning landscape is included.

Down and Dirty.
Lucas, Cheri
Edutopia; v2 n2 ; Mar 2006
Describes how schools have used schoolyard gardens to teach math, biology, and local history.

Seeds of Learning.
Flannery, Mary Ellen
NEA Today; v24 n5 , p32,33 ; Feb 2006
Describes an elementary school classroom garden in Huntsville, Alabama, and the teacher and resources that made it happen. Tips for getting started are offered.

"Don't Come Too Close to My Octopus Tree": Recording and Evaluating Young Children's Perspectives on Outdoor Learning.
Waller, Tim
Children, Youth and Environments; v16 n2 , p75-104 ; 2006
Examines how children's experiences of an outdoor project can challenge our understanding of participation. It discusses and evaluates participative approaches and the inter-relationship between children's spaces, pedagogy and research. A critical discussion of participatory research with, rather than on, children, acknowledges children's agency and develops the concept of "children's spaces" in participatory research and early years' pedagogy. The paper also discusses the implications for adult roles and methodological design and suggests a model for research as an interpretive process of co-constructed knowledge starting from children's perspectives.

The Influence of School Architecture and Design on the Outdoor Play Experience within the Primary School
Armitage, Marc
Paedagogica Historica ; v41 n4-5 , p535 - 553 ; Aug 2005
Since the very earliest times, schools have provided a place (the playground) and a time (playtimes) in which children can have time away from the direct involvement of adults and formal learning. Although the basic design of school grounds has changed in a number of ways over the years, from the subtle to the more direct, what effect these changes have had on the overall education of the child is less clear. Research has identified a number of positive effects on leaning that playtimes and the informal use of school grounds provides, yet it is also clear that schools themselves often greatly under-use this potential, or even actively restrict access to it, as a counter to what is often seen as the ‘problem’ of playtime. This paper will draw on recent research into ‘what’ happens on school playgrounds and ‘where’ it happens, using visual examples from the UK. The findings from this research will explore the direct links that have been found between school building design and children’s use of the outdoor environment for play. [Author's abstract]

Living Curriculum-A New Concept in Green Building Design and Education.
Dolan, Thomas
School Planning and Management; v44 n5 , pGB16,GB18,GB20 ; May 2005
Describes a school-based program that uses rainwater for toilets and sinks, then passes it through a variety of biological purification systems that are studied and cultivated for plant and animal life.

Learning Science Firsthand.
Hankin, Carole; Sachs, Randi
American School Board Journal; v192 n5 , p54-56 ; May 2005
Describes the Syosset Central School District's Geological and Ecological Research Facility (GERF), where a nondescript high school courtyard was turned into a science teaching laboratory with a variety of plant and mineral specimens. Students from of all grade levels from a variety of schools also use the facility.

Nature: The Space Provider.
Forstad, Anders
Children in Europe; n8 , p14,15 ; Apr 2005
Discusses the pedagogic possibilities of nature, citing a Norwegian kindergarten that conducts a great deal of its program outdoors, even in bad weather.

Big Dots, Little Dumpsters.
Freeman, Allen
Landscape Architecture; v95 n2 , p22,24-29 ; Feb 2005
Reviews the design of the "learning garden" at New York City's largest elementary school, PS 19 in Queens. The existing corrugated metal classrooms were painted with colorful random dots, corresponding circles were cut out of the asphalt schoolyard and planted, and many small dumpsters were installed as planters that are tended by individual classrooms.

The Edible Schoolyard.
Furger, Roberta
Edutopia Online; Mar 11, 2004
On the campus of Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, in Berkeley, California, students grow and prepare their own school lunches, getting a "seed to table experience" that reinforces the connection between the earth and the food we eat. The program is inspired and led by Alice Waters, organic chef and owner of Berkeley's Chez Panisse restaurant.

Transforming Inner-City School Grounds: Lessons from Learning Landscapes.
Brink, Lois; Yost, Bambi
Children, Youth and Environments; v14 n1 , p208-232 ; 2004
Relates the history of Denver's first Learning Landscapes project, at an elementary school, and the aftermath of its success as the program spread to schools throughout the district. The objectives, funding, educational programming, types of ecosystems created, social outcomes, and the role of the University of Colorado, Denver, are described, Includes 20 references.

Extending and Augmenting Scientific Enquiry through Pervasive Learning Environments.
Rogers, Yvonne; Price, Sara
Children, Youth and Environments; v14 n2 , p67-83 ; 2004
Presents findings from the Ambient Wood project where a woodland was transformed into a pervasive learning environment, enabling students to integrate and practice their scientific enquiry skills outdoors. The pervasive learning environment employs wireless and mobile technologies in the field to better integrate the various scientific processes. Traditionally, students have undertaken physical activities like discovering, collecting and recording of environmental/ biological processes in the field while higher level processes, such as analyzing, reasoning and predicting, have occurred afterward, when back in the classroom or lab. In combining these processes the goal is to encourage students to use more holistic, creative, and flexible forms of reasoning about the interdependencies underlying system processes. Includes 31 references.

Korea's School Grounds Project. Adobe PDF
PEB Exchange; v2003/3 n50 , p19-20 ; Oct 2003
Briefly describes Korea's Green School Project and School Forest Pilot Project. Provides contact for more information.

Stewardship Begins at School.
Danks, Sharon Gamson
Landscape Architecture; v93 n6 , p42-48 ; Jun 2003
Describes the ecological schoolyard of Cowick First School in Exeter, England. Asserts that it is among the best examples of well-rounded, hands-on ecological education.

Ross School, Ross, California.
Architectural Record; v191 n3 ; Mar 2003
Describes the title school building by EHDD Architecture, including the educational context and design goals. Includes information on the architects, manufacturers/suppliers, and construction team; a general building description; and a commentary on the design. Also includes the floor plan and photographs. A model of sustainable design is realized in this classroom addition that features daylighting. In lieu of air-conditioning, sloped roofs have an integral radiant barrier and flat roofs have single-ply white roofing both to reduce heat gain. Extensive native planting in the courtyard includes a habitat garden designed to attract a variety of insects and bird species and used in the education of the students. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

Grounds for Learning.
Corson, Cheryl
Learning By Design; n12 , p12-14 ; 2003
Describes initiatives, including public private partnerships, in which existing schools are transforming their grounds into outdoor learning spaces. Discusses the recreational, social, academic, political, and environmental rationales for such efforts and how to get started. Also offers a list of additional resources.
TO ORDER: Learning by Design; Email:

Building Better Schools.
Kennedy, Mike
American School and University; v75 n5 , p30-35 ; Jan 2003
Offers ten ideas for schools and universities before embarking on a new construction project: defining a school, shared space, sustainability, outdoor landscape, geoexchange, a variety of spaces, student-oriented space, technology, community use, and security.

Children's Environmental Learning and the Use, Design and Management of Schoolgrounds.
Malone, Karen; Tranter, Paul
Children, Youth and Environments; v13 n2 ; 2003
Examines school grounds as sites for play and environmental learning. It is based on a three-year project that involved 50 eight- to ten-year-old children at five Australian primary schools. Data collection occurred through multiple methods, including behavior mapping of children's play, interviews with children and teachers, and analysis of children's drawings of their school grounds. The findings show large variations between the schools, particularly in the types of play and environmental learning in which children engage. These variations are related to variations in the physical qualities of the schoolground, but the school philosophies concerning the use and management of the outdoor school environment are equally or more important. Includes 62 references.

Assignment: Eco-Friendly Campuses.
Calkins, Meg
Landsape Architecture; v92 n7 , p38,40,42,43,90,91 ; Jul 2002
Discusses how institutions of higher education can use their campus environments as a teaching tool and laboratory for finding solutions to environmental dilemmas and ensure that their campus operations, including the landscape, are exemplary models of environmental practice--even if it means far fewer expanses of lawn. Includes a list of resources.

The "Nutritional Value" of the Outdoor Environment.
Christenson, James E.
Facilities Manager; v18 n4 , p58,60 ; Jul-Aug 2002
Describes the incorporation of nature into Asia's urban areas and discusses the philosophy of Jens Jensen, a landscape architect who advocated use of native plants and small, scattered parks. Explores implications for campus facilities managers.

Greening from the Top Down.
Oberndorfer, Erica
Pathways: The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education; v14 n2 , p9-11 ; Spring 2002
Green roofs, with their topsoil and plants, improve insulation, filter air, reduce water runoff, and provide habitat for urban wildlife. They are compatible with schools because they save energy; schools' flat roofs are conducive to greening; and green roofs can be outdoor classrooms for botany, ecology, and energy efficiency. Although scarce in America, green roofs are common in Germany.

Rio Del Norte School, Oxnard, California.
Architectural Record; v190 n2 ; Feb 2002
The first new school built locally in over 35 years, Rio Del Norte School realized that critical to their success was the inclusion of the community in the planning process. Classrooms have been designed by Dougherty + Dougherty Architects to cluster around "tech" centers that encourage interaction, team projects, and group learning. Each cluster is linked to an outdoor classroom space that allows the teacher to take the students out of their traditional setting. Includes information on the architects, manufacturers/suppliers, and construction team; a general building description; and a commentary on the design. Also includes the floor plan and photographs. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

Courtyard Oases: Ecology at the Heart of the School.
Danks, Sharon Gamson
Landscape Architecture; v92 n1 , p36,38-41 ; Jan 2002
Explores ecologically planned school yards that provide students with places of wonder and exciting things to study, play with, and explore. The article describes three school courtyards that illustrate how schools can transform asphalt playgrounds and paved staff parking lots into stimulating play and learning areas for students.

The Great Outdoors.
Layton, Rob
American School and University; v74 n3 , p358-9 ; Nov 2001
Explains how outdoor learning opens new possibilities for expanding educational opportunities. Explores various lifelong skills that can be learned from outdoor environments, and presents ways to expand classrooms beyond the school building.

Schoolyard Lessons: More and More Schools Are Finding Ways To Take Education Outdoors.
Boss, Suzie
Northwest Education; v6 n4 , p37-38 ; Summer-Fall 2001
School gardens can teach kids about cooperation, nature, science, creativity, and community service. Gardens also help teachers address students' diverse needs and interests. Tips for school gardeners include: make it easy to use, keep groups small, be inclusive, build partnerships, have clear rules, think year-round, have fun, and celebrate beauty.

An Educational Environment.
Hammatt, Heather
Landscape Architecture; v91 n6 , p18 ; Jun 2001
Describes the development of a new 6,000 square foot outdoor learning environment at Cottage Lake Elementary School in Woodinville, WA, devoted to environmental education. The space includes a butterfly habitat, compost area and salmon habitat garden (4 illustrations included).

A Wide, Green Classroom.
Singleton, Giles
Clemson World Magazine; Apr 2001
This describes an outdoor learning project that is a partnership between Clemson University, South Carolina, and the community at Clemson Elementary. The project is being planned by faculty, parents and the children themselves. The grounds will feature four courtyards based on favorite books: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden and the Harry Potter series. Each includes scenes from the book, an outdoor classroom area and complementary plantings.

Into the Woods, Wetlands, and Prairies.
Tanner, C. Kenneth
Educational Leadership; v58 n7 , p64-66 ; Apr 2001
Research shows that when students learn in outdoor settings (compared to classrooms), they learn more quickly, appreciate the experience more, and retain skills longer. This article describes the University of Georgia's School Design and Planning Laboratory, a Georgia middle school's living history/wetlands project, and two other outdoor-learning programs.

Outdoor Learning Environments: Public Art.
Gould, Bill
School Planning and Management; v40 n3 , p58-59 ; Mar 2001
Explores the use of student-generated outdoor art as a vehicle for building students' hands-on experiences in public art and architecture that can augment in-class work. Choosing activity levels that are age appropriate is addressed.

Playgrounds: They're Not Just for Fun Anymore.
Rittner-Heir, Robbin M.
School Planning and Management; v40 n2 , p61-64 ; Feb 2001
Describes a playground classroom that helps children maximize their learning experiences through outdoor play activities while also offering opportunities for social interaction.

Mind Games.
Hammatt, Heather
Landscape Architecture; v91 n1 , p70-77,89 ; Jan 2001
Discusses how an urban renewal project created a playground for the mind, inspiring the study of science, math, and technology. The area s use of its natural surroundings to inspire curiosity and evoke an interest in learning by stimulating the senses is described. Photos and diagrams are included.

Ecological Schoolyards.
Danks, Sharon Gamson
Landscape Architecture; v90 n11 , p42,44-47 ; Nov 2000
Presents design guidelines and organizational and site principles for creating schoolyards where students can learn about ecology. Principles for building schoolyard ecological systems are described.

Minimal, Not Simple
Bennett, Paul
Landscape Architecture; v90 n6 , p22,24,26-27 ; Jun 2000
This article features a courtyard design for the Thomas Prince Elementary School in Princeton Center, Massachusetts, winner of a 1999 design award from the American Society of Landscape Architects. Design decisions, plant selections, financing and construction, and the involvement of volunteer labor are discussed.

Grounds for Change: Learning through Landscapes in Britain.
Lucas, Bill
NAMTA Journal (North American Montessori Teachers' Association); v20 n2 , p53-57 ; Spring-Summer 2000
Discusses the role of the Learning through Landscapes organization in Britain, which emphasizes the importance of suitable school grounds and gardens for the effective environmental education of children. Also discusses briefly how school grounds can be used in geography, science, mathematics, and physical education instruction.

Naturalization Service.
Dahlgren, Sally
Athletic Business; v24 n1 , p32-33 ; Jan 2000
Explores how community parks and schools can cooperate to create natural environments for their schools. Examples are provided of schoolyard improvement partnerships for elementary schools.

Water, Water Everywhere!
Sible, Kathleen P.
Young Children; v55 n1 , p64-66 ; Jan 2000
Describes how problems with water drainage on the playground, and the resulting puddles, provided a wealth of learning opportunities, children's fun, family-school communication, and challenges for one early childhood program.

Make the Most of Your Schoolyard
Coffee, Stephen R.; Rivkin, Mary S.
Principal; v79 n2 , p31-32,33-35 ; Nov 1999
With the "greening of the schoolyard" gathering momentum, it is important to build an understanding between educators and facilities managers. Principals are advised to avoid surprises, consider costs, plan for long-term maintenance, consider safety and liability, address concerns about physical security, and keep the neighbors happy.

Wilbert Snow School, Middletown, Connecticut.
Weathersby, William, Jr.
Architectural Record; , p118-121 ; Nov 1999
Describes a Connecticut elementary school design that integrates the natural outdoor environment with the school, unites several buildings into a unified whole, and preserves forest pathways for public use. Photos and a floor plan are included.

Tutored by the Great Outdoors at a Southern Pines Playground
Raver, Anne
New York Times; Oct 07, 1999
The playground at Southern Pines Elementary School used to be four acres of thorny, barren land and some rickety play equipment. With the collaboration of children, parents, teachers and community members, guided by Robin Moore, an urban planner who teaches in the school of design at North Carolina State University, the site is now a complete learning environment and playground used by the school and local community.

Developing Our Y.A.R.D. for Observing, Writing, and Other Learning Activities.
Stoicovy, Donnan; Kerrick, Kathy; Ankney, Jennifer
PAEE Journal; v7 n3 , p12-13 ; Oct 1999
Discusses the Youth Activity and Recreational Development (YARD) Center project, one school's efforts to return their school grounds to a more natural state in order to support integrated learning in a natural area, provide an environmental education workstation and writing laboratory, and have an aesthetically pleasing area for students and teachers to enjoy.

Schoolyard Habitat Sustainability: Discouraging Vandalism
Stout, Beth
Clearing; n105 , p29-31 ; Fall 1999
Discusses vandalism to schoolyard habitat site areas. Finds that instances of vandalism are few and the threat of vandalism can be kept to a minimum while students, teachers, and community members enjoy a hands-on, outdoor learning opportunity.

Environmental Learning Centers: A Template
Vozick, Eric
Taproot; v11 n4 p14-17 Sum 1999 , p14-17 ; Summer 1999
Provides a working model, or template, for community-based environmental learning centers (ELCs). The template presents a philosophy as well as a plan for staff and administration operations, educational programming, and financial support. The template also addresses "green" construction and maintenance of buildings and grounds and includes a natural resources inventory. Financing of ELCs should emphasize local community support.

Boston Effort Adds Some Green To Playground Blacktop.
Keller, Bess
Education Week; Jun 09, 1999
In four years, the Boston Schoolyard Initiative has helped 16 schools convert their bleak grounds into spaces for play and learning that are open to the neighborhood as well as the school. Another 30 or so schools have embarked on the process.

The Schoolyard: Not Just for Recess Anymore.
Coffee, Stephen R.
School Planning and Management; v38 n3 , p34, 37 ; Mar 1999
Explains the planning involved for converting a school's outdoor spaces into extended science classrooms. It addresses planning the schoolyard environment, arguing that the natural environment should be considered early in the planning phase, and stakeholder cooperation and adapting to changes that can affect the investment being made. Helpful websites conclude the article.

Arlington Rediscovers the Schoolyard.
Coffee, Stephen R.
(Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, Arlington, VA, 1999)
Discusses the activities of several Arlington County schools to utilize their outdoor environment, change their design and function, and incorporate the school's educational program into outdoor education. 5p.

Getting Physical.
Peterson, Erin
Athletic Business; v22 n12 , p51,53-56 ; Dec 1998
Discusses how high schools are responding to the decline in student physical fitness with new facilities that attract students to fitness. Use of alternative sports, e.g., hiking, climbing, and in-line skating is discussed; as are creating new facilities that encourage student use through technology; and integrating physical education with other subject areas.

Learning under the Sky
Bishop, Axel
American School Board Journal; v185 n10 , p38-40 ; Oct 1998
Statutes in at least 30 states require environmental education. Schoolyard ecosystems bring nature into the everyday life of students and teachers. Describes some outdoor sites in Colorado and lists information sources.

Hands in the Dirt and Hearts in the Community: Developing Successful Partnerships for Urban Environmental Education
Ballard, Crystie; Tong, Collin; Usher, Laurie
Clearing; n101 , p18-20 ; Apr-May 1998
Describes an urban environmental stewardship project undertaken by students at a Seattle public school in an effort to make their school more beautiful, their environment more healthy, and their learning more tangible. In partnership with neighbors and the community, students transformed a section of the school grounds into a garden refuge. Interdisciplinary exercises fostered critical observation, cooperative decision making, and communication skills.

Green Laboratory Schools.
Pope, Jonathan
Clearing; n101 , p24-25 ; Apr-May 1998
Presents schools as the perfect microcosms of the world of the 1990s: most work is done indoors, many resources are consumed, and schools sit surrounded by large chunks of land mostly devoted to grass and parking. Suggests that a school can serve as two perfect environmental education laboratories, one indoor and one outdoor. Describes how to design environmental education in these laboratories.

School Grounds Adobe PDF
PEB Exchange; n33 , p11-14 ; Feb 1998
Describes the direct effect between the way school grounds are designed and managed, and the behavior and attitudes of the pupils. Discusses several countries' initiatives regarding school grounds, the "Learning through Landscape Trust" program of the United Kingdom, and findings from a conference regarding the importance of school grounds in education.

Developing Your School Grounds: A Planning Primer
Clearing; n100 , p.11-13 ; Jan-Feb 1998
Describes the planning steps and other practical considerations to establish successful trails, outdoor classrooms, or other environmental education improvements on school grounds. Steps include determining needs and methods for promoting projects, resources, site assessment, property lines, safety, and maintenance. Possible projects described include greenhouses, butterfly gardens, wildlife-oriented projects, historical/cultural interpretation, and learning stations.

Building a Pond on the School Grounds
Pope, Jonathan
Clearing; n100 , p14-15 ; Jan-Feb 1998
Describes the efforts of two teachers to construct a pond and woods on school grounds. The teachers used specialized student teams for working on a wetland study and the building project. An advisory committee including teachers, the principal, and the custodian worked through maintenance issues. Includes ideas for creating outdoor science centers.

The Need for Nature: A Childhood Right
Moore, Robin
Social Justice; v24 n3 , p203-20 ; Summer 1997
Discusses the factors restricting access to the outdoors and the social and environmental aspects of the changing ecology of childhood. It calls for a new sense of child-biosphere relations and points to the international conventions and other venues where this theme is being taken up.

"Environments for Special Needs." Beginning Workshop.
Bunnett, Rochelle; And Others
Child Care Information Exchange; n114 , p41-50,55-64 ; Mar-Apr 1997
Presents five articles examining creation of environments that address children's special needs: (1) "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" (on changing from a deficit model to a competence model); (2) "Enhancing the Environment for All Children"; (3) "Using Your Senses to Adapt Environments"; (4) "More Than a Playground: Accessible Outdoor Learning Centers"; and (5) "Interest Areas Support Individual Learning."

Transforming School Grounds into Natural Learning Environments
Keetch, Tammy
Clearing; n94 , p8-9 ; Aug-Sep 1996
Discusses the benefits as well as the concerns of changing traditional asphalt and turf grass grounds into educational resources. Benefits include an opportunity for hands-on learning, a softer and more creative area for play, a reduction in school ground violence among students, an ecologically improved landscape, and a reduction in maintenance requirements with a chemical free landscape.

Outdoor Classrooms: The Learning Links
Reading, Jeff; Taven, George
Clearing; n94 , p11-13 ; Aug-Sep 1996
Discusses creating an outdoor classroom as a means to enhance the curriculum with outdoor, hands-on learning. It is based on a project at Olympic Heights Elementary School in Calgary. Includes a list of pointers on how an outdoor classroom can integrate language arts, math, science, social studies, health, physical education, art and music.

Outdoor Settings for Playing and Learning: Designing School Grounds to Meet the Needs of the Whole Child and Whole Curriculum.
Moore, Robin C.
NAMTA Journal (North American Montessori Teachers' Association); v21 n3 , p97-120 ; Summer-Fall 1996
Presents a list of imaginative design options for optimal outdoor learning as well as intimate contact with nature. Focuses on entrances, pathways, signage and displays, barriers and enclosures, manufactured equipment and play structures, multipurpose game settings, ground covers and safety surfaces, landforms and topography, trees and vegetation, gardening settings, animal habitats, aquatic settings, and performance settings.

Amphibian Oasis: Designing and Building a Schoolyard Pond
Gosselin, Heather; Johnson, Bob
Green Teacher; n48 , p9-12 ; Jun 1996
Building a pond in a schoolyard is a rewarding way to help boost local populations of amphibians, to increase the natural value of school grounds, and to serve as a locale for observing the life cycles of plants, invertebrates, and amphibians. This article outlines important considerations in designing and building a pond from siting through maintenance.

Green Teacher; n47 , p1-50 ; Apr-May 1996
Special issue of bi-monthly journal devoted to transforming school grounds. Articles include: Outdoor Classrooms-the Learning Links; International Snapshots of Schoolyard Projects; Creating a Schoolyard Tree Nursery; Butterfly Gardens; How Schoolyards Influence Behavior;and Exploring Wetlands.
TO ORDER: Green Teacher, P.O. Box 1431, Lewiston, NY 14092; (tel)416/960-1244

Master Gardener Classroom Garden Project: An Evaluation of the Benefits to Children.
Alexander, Jacquelyn; North, Mary-Wales; Hendren, Deborah
Children's Environments; v12 n2 , p123-133 ; Jun 1995
Analyzes data collected on 52 second and third grade students participating in this project that provides inner-city children in the San Antonio Independent School District with an experiential way of learning about horticulture, gardening, themselves, and their relationships with their peers. Qualitative interviews indicate that participation in the gardening project has had many positive effects on the school children. The children have gained pleasure from watching the products of their labor flourish, and have had the chance to increase interactions with their parents and other adults. In addition, the children have learned the anger and frustration that occur when things of value are harmed out of neglect or violence. Includes six references.

Tierra Buena: The Creation of an Urban Wildlife Habitat in an Elementary School in the Inner City.
Bradley, Lucy
Children's Environments; v12 n2 , p102-110 ; Jun 1995
Describes an urban wildlife habitat in central Phoenix, created by elementary school student parents, teachers, administrators, and the surrounding community. The students now spend time in a natural setting, interacting with adults modeling environmental stewardship, and learning a specific and general knowledge of ecology. They are taking personal responsibility for creating and protecting this habitat and are having a positive impact on their environment. Includes 13 references.

Learning through Landscapes: An Organization's Attempt to Move School Grounds to the Top of the Education Agenda.
Lucas, Bill
Children's Environments; v12 n2 , p84-101 ; Jun 1995
Describes the development of Learning through Landscapes (LTL) from a research initiative into an independent national organization promoting the widespread development of school grounds. It outlines LTL's philosophy and suggests a model for managing the process of developing school grounds; explores LTL's program of activities by describing its publications, research, and projects; and outlines its various membership schemes for the 8,000 or so schools it serves in the United Kingdom. Includes 20 references.

The Case For More High School Gardens.
Fang, Wei
Urban Agriculture Notes; 1995
While the use of gardens as educational resources has been predominantly limited to primary schools, the skills gained through gardening are beneficial to students of all ages. Since they involve experiential and cooperative learning, school gardens have long been advocated as effective learning tools by many educational philosophers and reformers. The high school garden serves as a foundation from which valuable lessons about the environment are learned. In doing so, it fosters and strengthens a community. The communal, environmental, and social discoveries made in growing a vegetable garden provide academic and personal challenges for high school students. [Author's abstract]

Architecture's Impact on Learning
Christopher, Gaylaird
School Administrator; v51 n6 , p14-18 ; Jun 1994
Recent studies show that built environment is a key element in a school's overall success. Since today's educators promote a thinking-based, integrated curriculum, the learning environment is especially important. Landscape architects can create ecosystems for students to explore, study, and adapt. Structural engineers can create lessons in physics, geometry, and stress analysis, illustrating plutonic principles in a meaningful way.

Building the Better Playground.
Cohen, Deborah L.
Education Week; Feb 16, 1994
This article covers design, safety and community involvement aspects of over 100 Alabama elementary school playgrounds built by community and school groups with guidance from Tom Jambor. Jambor is past-president of the American Association for the Child's Right to Play and childhood development psychology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

The Learning Environment as a Three-Dimensional Textbook.
Taylor, Anne
Children's Environments; v10 n2 , p104-117 ; Dec 1993
Describes how learning environments can be more educationally and optimally useful if the architecture of the built, natural, and cultural environments are used as teaching tools. Discusses how structures and the surrounding landscape can be used to teach physics, geometry, and other disciplines, enabling students to learn how to evaluate the environment. Includes ten references.

School's Out! New Initiatives for British School Grounds.
Adams, Eileen
Children's Environments; v10 n2 , p118-135 ; 1993
Describes the thinking behind current initiatives in the United Kingdom to improve environmental quality and educational opportunity in school grounds. It explains the ideas underpin the research and development program of Learning through Landscapes, and summarizes findings from the research report (Adams 1990b). Themes include: the use of school grounds in relation to formal, informal and hidden curricula; the design of school grounds as an educational resource; the development of school grounds; participation in the design process; and interprofessional collaboration in education. Examples of primary and secondary schools where pupils and teachers have worked together with other members of the school community, artists and designers to change their environment are provided. Includes six references.

Changing a Schoolyard: Intentions, Design Decisions, and Behavioral Outcomes.
Weinstein, Carol; Pinciotti, Patricia
Environment and Behavior ; v20 n3 , p345-371 ; May 1988
Describes the construction of a tire playground on an empty, fenced-in blacktop that had served as the schoolyard for a small primary school. The parents' and designer's goals for the playground, the way the playground supported these goals, and the impact on the chilren's behavior are discussed. Includes 30 references.

Making Your School Site an Environmental Smorgasbord.
Carman, Sam
Bradford Papers Annual; , p39-44 ; 1986
Offers suggestions for outdoor learning projects for schools with little to plentiful available outdoor land. These projects focus on observation and testing of environmental conditions and creating wildlife habitats.



Due to lack of funding, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities is currently available only as an archived site. As of September 1, 2012 no new content will be added or updates made. We regret the need to take such steps, but should funding become available, we look forward to reinvigorating NCEF and providing this valuable resource to the educational facilities community.

If you have questions or are an organization or company wishing to support the continued operation of this industry recognized resource please contact Institute President Henry Green (, 202-289-7800).