Children's environmental learning and the use, design and management of school grounds

This article examines school grounds as sites for play and environmental learning. It is based on a three-year project that involved 50 eight- to 10-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 school ground. However, we also found that school philosophies concerning the use and management of the outdoor school environment are equally or more important.

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