Building a National Movement for Green Schoolyards in Every Community

Jul 08, 2016
  • Description

With only a small fraction of public schoolyards in the U.S. having any kind of natural outdoor learning area,we realized that by creating access to green space on schoolyards in every community—the only public landsspecifically allocated for use by children—we could have lasting impact on children's health and well-being,particularly the most vulnerable children. Research convincingly demonstrates that green space is sparserin low-income communities and health risks are higher. We at the Children & Nature Network have committedto building a strategic intervention for low-income communities where the many benefits of the naturalenvironment can mediate stress in children and create whole-community resilience and vitality.

This document is not a how-to guide, and it is not a prescription for what we must do to move the needle oncreating more green schoolyards. Rather, it is a collection of thinking about what is possible. Section 1 discussesthe benefits of green schoolyards, and points to the many possibilities for partnerships and to the need for moreresearch to be collected to help us successfully make a broader case. Section 2 on components for implementationprovides a map for evaluating existing and future implementation models and helps us to see how some of theleaders in the field are approaching each component. Section 3 presents a set of recommendations in the form ofa Framework for Action, which we hope will be a starting point for a collective national agenda. It is our intentionfor the components of the report to be practical as separate pieces that can be pulled out and used as needed toaddress a variety of audiences in the field.