After Schoolyard Greening . . . (01-24-22)

Van Dijk-Wesselius and colleagues studied how children (their sample was 7 – 11 years old) responded during recess breaks when additional plants are added to their schoolyards.  The team determined via data collected through videotaping at 5 primary schools (all of whose school yards were paved when baseline measurements were taken) in The Netherlands that “Results show an increase in observed play, as compared to non-play, behavior, after greening. Furthermore, there was an increase in games-with-rules, a small increase in constructive and explorative play behavior, and a decrease in passive non-play behaviors. This impact of greening was stronger for girls compared to boys.” Also, “The finding that greening increased the prevalence of constructive and exploratory play, is in line with the assumption that greening schoolyards creates a more fascinating, unpredictable and flexible environment that affords more varied play behavior compared to paved schoolyards. . . . children still predominantly engaged in functional play [use of objects as they were intended] and games-with-rules in their new green schoolyard.” Two key definitions “Constructive play – manipulation of objects to construct or ‘create’ something. . .  Exploratory play - a focused examination of objects (or other people or situations) in the environment.”  Data were gathered during a baseline period and again after two years had passed.

Janke van Dijk-Wesselius, Jolanda Maas, Mark van Vugt, and Agnes van den Berg.  “A Comparison of Children’s Play and Non-Play Behavior Before and After Schoolyard Greening Monitored by Video Observations.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press,