It is really disappointing that every time we think of schools, a rigid, concrete structure comes to mind. Even in kindergarten, some of us remember playing inside the building, rather than enjoying a large green playground.
Hopefully, this won’t have to be the case for our children.
A few months ago, the municipality of Thessaloniki, Greece, announced a new contract notice for architects, in order to achieve greener environments for the city’s schoolyards. This contract notice aims at the transformation of eight schoolyards in Thessaloniki, with the hope of more being included on the “sustainable schools” list in the near future.
Even those not aware of the prominent “open-air schools” can easily understand the importance of nature for kids. Trees, flowers, rocks, and all elements of nature help to shape a diverse educational environment. Even if the lessons don’t take place outdoors, a natural environment would upgrade the entire school complex.
The municipality of Thessaloniki has also proposed the creation of “green roofs” for various public buildings of the city, including six schools. This also seems like an interesting initiative towards a more sustainable school environment.
What are the benefits of a green schoolyard?
- It increases the environmental awareness of children;
- It contributes to health promotion;
- It helps children contact and interact with the natural environment, as a combination of both entertainment and creative play;
- It improves the students’ physical activity;
- It enhances their innate sense and curiosity with the natural environment, and finally;
- It contributes to the environmental improvement of the entire neighborhood.
Furthermore, according to research, a greener school environment would also promote the students’ social and mental health.
It goes without saying that green schoolyards are extremely important for the future of education. Through interactions with the natural elements, students will be able to combine fun with creative play and learn at the same time. Isn’t this the kind of school we all dream of?
Are there any green schoolyards in the city you live in?