Green-blue schoolyards in Rotterdam South

A green schoolyard: for healthy children and a healthy city!

In 2018, Stichting Rondom GWW – a foundation that brings together contractors and municipalities to work on public space – launched a design contest for green schoolyards in Rotterdam Zuid. Research has shown that playing in a green environment has a major impact on children’s mood and concentration. The design of the immediate school environment is essential in that respect. A green schoolyard not only challenges children to exercise more, but it also brings them more into touch with nature, improves the way they play together and enhances their learning environment.

The emphasis in many schoolyards is on stone, not green. A greener schoolyard can help children to cool off on hot days, enhance biodiversity and reduce water nuisance during severe downpours in the schoolyard and neighbourhood.

In partnership with Buro Bergh, STIPO designed a participative scheme for a design contest with pupils from grades 7 and 8. The children between the ages of 10 and 12 were given the opportunity to learn about the impending climate impact and come up with a design for their own schoolyard. The classes put their creativity and ability to find solutions to the test in a series of participatory crafts workshops. To understand the scale of the designs, we took the children to the schoolyard to give them an idea of its shape and allow them to openly dream about what the yard could like. Designing your own schoolyard teaches children to take in their own environment and become aware of the impact the climate is having on the city.

Soon the children from De Wissel primary school were singing in their own green schoolyard: “From a dull grey to green and blue.”

STIPO is extremely happy to reach a younger generation with substantive and practical knowledge about the design of (semi)public space and the opportunity it provide to implement lessons about these kinds of design activities. In addition, this project is a way of linking the users of a space directly to the art of furnishing and designing that space, which we believe is a unique opportunity!

The lucky winner: the Agnus School received a fully subsidised green schoolyard! Check out the progress on the schoolyard at https://rondomgww.nl.