School grounds

Pupils spend a significant proportion of their time in the school grounds, so it is important that the experiences they have there are the best and most positive they can be. Young people read messages and meanings from the quality of their surroundings. They interpret the condition of their surroundings as a reflection of the value adults place on the environment and the children who are the main users.

Children can receive mixed messages from adults. For example, they may be taught that “the environment” is important and that they should take care of it, and then see grounds that are poorly designed and badly cared for. In order to support what is said inside the classroom, practical ideas need to be applied outside.

These could include recycling and composting in the grounds, introducing native plant species to encourage wildlife, using recycled materials for creating elements within the grounds, or maintaining the grounds using organic methods. Learning to appreciate and care for the school grounds is an important first step towards a broader appreciation of both local and global nature and biodiversity.

The outdoor areas in the school can be designed and used as a setting for lessons. This requires suitable places for pupils to gather, seating for different group sizes, shade and shelter from the sun, wind and rain, as well as seating that is created for the young people who are going to use it and appropriate for how it is to be used. Within the classroom and along the corridors, appreciation for nature can be heightened by displaying nature-themed artwork and indoor plants.

When tackling this theme, the Eco-Committee can look into how to improve the design of outdoor areas to promote outdoor learning, as well as how to ensure that “nature” is brought into the classroom and school corridors.
 
© Darren Jew / WWF
© Darren Jew / WWF