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Green outdoor environments: Settings for promoting children's health and wellbeing
Around the world, children's outdoor environments, such as school grounds, early childhood education services, public playgrounds and backyards, are changing. Homogenous environments consisting primarily of asphalt and grass that are noted for being hot, hard and barren are being transformed or 'greened' into places designed to include a variety of natural elements, such as vegetable gardens, wetlands, trees, frog ponds, murals and butterfly gardens.
Internationally, a number of not-for-profit organisations support the process of greening children's outdoor environments. Organisations and programs such as Evergreen in Canada, the Centre for Ecoliteracy in the United States, Learnscapes in Australia, Movium in Sweden, the Ecoschools programs in South Africa and Learning Through Landscapes in the United Kingdom continue to grow in their profile and scope. These organisations provide guidance, funding and resources to administrators, teachers and parents who are interested in beginning the process of playground greening.
Evidence of the wide-ranging benefits of green outdoor environments for children is mounting. These benefits extend to children's environmental awareness; opportunities for learning and cognition; social, emotional and mental wellbeing; and safety and health (Dyment, 2005; Gill, 2014; Rosenow & Bailie, 2014). Green outdoor environments can thus be considered and developed as sites to enhance these various dimensions of children's lives. They also represent an opportunity for educators working in schools and early childhood education services to reach out and collaborate with people working in other related educational fields and movements-be it around issues of achievement, citizenship, peace, sustainability, safety or health.
Publication titleOutdoor Learning Environments: Spaces for exploration, discovery and risk-taking in the early years
EditorsH Little, S Elliott and S Wyver
Department/SchoolFaculty of Education
PublisherAllen and Unwin Academic
Place of publicationAustralia
Rights statementCopyright 2017 Helen Little, Sue Elliott and Shirley Wyver