Announcing ISGA's New Expanded Activity Guide for Schools

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We are very excited to present the 2018 International School Grounds Month Activity Guide. This new publication is an expanded version of the school ground Activity Guide we have been producing over the last few years. It is designed to help schools use their grounds to the fullest during the month of May for International School Grounds Month and year round!

The guides are appropriate for ages 3-18 and are full of cross-curricular activities that enhance and promote play, learning, health, outdoor connections, and community. They also contain great background information on the school grounds movement, the benefits of taking children outside, and how we are working to shift the norm of how school grounds are designed and used. 

We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our authors who contributed this year and in the past. The Activity Guides would not have been possible without their fantastic written contributions and the generosity of their organizations in sharing their work. We are grateful for the time and energy they put into their submissions and for their efforts to support this movement.

With our colleagues at Green Schoolyards America, we also produced a 2018 edition of the companion book, the Living Schoolyard Activity Guide. Together, the two Guides now include a total of 235 activities written by 187 organizations in 27 countries. (Did you know you had that many like-minded colleagues? It’s amazing!) All of the activities in both Guides are intended for use anywhere in the world, so we encourage you and your community to share the links for both of these free books!

 The map above shows the fantastic geographic diversity of the author-organizations that contributed ideas to this publication series. Organizations that contributed to the  International School Grounds Month Activity Guide  are shown with red markers. Organizations that participated in the  Living Schoolyard Activity Guide  are shown with yellow markers.

The map above shows the fantastic geographic diversity of the author-organizations that contributed ideas to this publication series. Organizations that contributed to the International School Grounds Month Activity Guide are shown with red markers. Organizations that participated in the Living Schoolyard Activity Guide are shown with yellow markers.

2017 ISGA Conference A Success!

On September 4-6, 2017, 130 landscape architects, designers, educators, school principals, local representatives, and scientists from around the world gathered in Berlin. Representing 21 countries from around the world and numerous educational systems, all were united by one goal: transforming standard schoolyards into a diverse array of landscapes for playing, moving and learning!

Conference participants were immersed in a wide variety of learning experiences. On Day One, lectures provided international perspectives on the importance of well-designed open spaces in educational institutions. Specific topics included schoolyard plans created by undergraduate students in Denver, USA and Japan; the very first attempts of designing outdoor playgrounds in China; alternative educational concepts of natural and environmental schools in Sweden; and innovative educational concepts in Germany. Presenters discussed the need to rethink and design learning spaces in a completely different way, not only indoors but especially outside.

Excursions across Berlin gave the participants first­‐hand experience in Berlin’s innovative schoolyards. They were able to witness directly and concretely how only outdoor areas are capable of providing children and youth with direct contact to the natural environment. Natural phenomena, weather and climate, animals and plants, and natural elements such as water, earth, and air were experienced together with the children, and understood as part of an "Education for Sustainable Development".

On the last day of the conference, participants joined together with pupils of the Otto-Wels Primary School to transform the schoolyard with 12 artistic workshops, including creating mosaics, wicker igloos, stone and tree carvings, painting, and building balancing structures. These crafts brought to life a design developed with intensive participation of the school community and and provided a wonderful sense of achievement, and connection on which to end the conference.  It made evident how creativity, teamwork, pleasure, fun and mutual support enabled people of different cultures to reach a common goal that everyone could be proud of: changing together the "Schoolyard Living Space" positively, child-­‐friendly, ecological and sustainable.

Overall the conference was a great success. The new ideas and connections made through the lectures, workshops, excursions, and other events provided an impetus for further learning and action to all participants and their home institutions and organizations. We hope that the excitement it generated will encourage imitation across Berlin, Germany, and around the world!

For a detailed list of speakers, topics, schools visited, and workshop activities, download  the full conference report (right).

 

It is urgent to implement the planning and design of open spaces for children, whether in schools, kindergartens, living areas in cities and countryside. This must be done according to child‐appropriate design criteria and with a serious participation of the users, or by schoolyard designers who are specialized in user-­oriented open space design. In-­depth teaching, research, practice-­oriented study projects, in-service training and, of course, continuous interdisciplinary exchange are urgently needed on this topic.
— Manfred Dietzen, conference leader

Join us for the next ISGA conference in Berlin - Sept. 2017!

Join us for the next ISGA conference in Berlin - Sept. 2017!

This September, our colleagues at Grün Macht Schule will host the 6th global conference on school grounds for the International School Grounds Alliance. Entitled, "Schoolyard Diversity," this exciting event will be held in Berlin, Germany from September 4-6, 2017. We hope you will join us for three days of vibrant ideas and discussions with visionary leaders of the green school ground movement from Germany and around the world. The conference will include inspirational speakers, tours of Berlin's green schoolyards, and hands-on schoolyard greening activities. 

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Green Grounds for Health and Learning - Lund, Sweden - Sept. 2016

Green Grounds for Health and Learning - Lund, Sweden - Sept. 2016

The Green Grounds for Health and Learning conference was a great success! The 220 participants from 16 different countries around the world took part in a wide variety of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, both indoors and outdoors.

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