Sunday, July 4, 2010
1 July Learning Through Landscapes Conference
This year marked the 20th anniversary of LTL and was celebrated throughout the conference. A number of presenters from around the globe gave insight into where their country was in relation to school grounds development.
Petter Akerblom, Movium Centre for Urban Environment.
. email@example.com Sweden
Movium collects and spreads knowledge on urban outdoor environments and has done so since the early 1990’s. Peter co-ordinates projects, educational activities and reporting. Grounds development was not just about developing a nice setting but about a holistic approach to learning. Petter spoke of a resurgence of school gardens as a teaching tool in
. The government is now committed to education in outdoor environments and is committing 800 000 pounds in an effort to green school grounds. He spoke of how much is spent on indoor classrooms and how little in the outdoors. In most instances it is not seen as a resource. Sweden relies heavily on state funded positions rather than volunteers to develop school grounds. He reiterated a common theme regarding weather and recounted how in the north on Sweden where in winter it is dark for 4 months of the year, with severe weather, outdoor learning occurs continuously. The focus on school grounds development is Sweden
– Make school grounds more important in the learning process.
– Low Cost
– Involve parents, students staff in the decision making process.
The school grounds should be “A place for learning, an object for learning and a way of learning” His vision is that there are no boundaries between indoor and outdoor learning.
Ko Senda Landscape Architect Environmental Design Institute,
Tokyo . Japan
Ko specialises in school grounds design. Schools in
are getting behind the school grounds movement. 90% of all schools have a vegetable garden and pets. Schools are designed with this in mind. A great deal of government support is available to promote school grounds development in Japan . He considers the following concepts vital to successful grounds development. Japan
- Flow Line
- Environmentally Friendly
- Child participation in design and construction
He spoke of Professor Mitsuru Senda’s Theory of Play Space having six elements :Play Structure Space, Nature Space, Hide Out Space, Street Space, Anarchy Space and Open Space. He expanded on this theory as follows.
- OPEN SPACE (Playing Field, Outdoor Stage, Seating and Play Area.
- STREET SPACE (Walkways on street side of school)
- CIRCULATION (Paths that ensure there is no beginning or end to the outdoor area)
- NATURE SPACE (Plants, Symbolic Trees, School Farm including vegetables and flowers, pond\stream, small hills, tunnels, domesticated animals)
- ANARCHY SPACE (Construction site,
- SEATING SPACE (Log bench, space for adults to talk)
- CONTINUITY (Indoor and outdoor spaces need to be connected)
- HIDE OUT SPACE
Often he wasn’t able to include all elements in the design but the more that were included the more successful the outdoor space would be.
Maranne van Lier Stichting Oase and Sprinzaad, the Netherlands
Maranne spoke of the networks of like minded groups that existed in the
. Again the government was behind the greening movement. He spoke of the large number of public gardens that had been established across the Netherlands . Children were no longer finding nature and were becoming more and more distant from it. Maranne said if children don’t find nature anymore then we need to bring nature back to children. Maranne accepted risk and said it was about communicating this to parents and the community. A book recommended is Playing Outdoors: Spaces and Places, Risks and Challenge (Debating Play) (Paperback) by Helen Tovey. Netherlands
Helen Tunggal, previously a Principal is currently manager of Learnscapes, an approach incorporating much of the LTS philosophy into a structured approach for implementation of new grounds development projects. Helen reiterated the importance of planning. She recommended the following handbook. http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/handbooks/outdoor_learning_spaces2.pdf
Sharon Danks, Bay Tree Design,
. San Francisco
VIBRANT GROUNDS =
- Wildlife Habitats
- Student, community and parent participation
- Water systems
- Energy systems (Demonstration i.e. small wind generator/ solar pump not reducing carbon footprint simply a demonstration)
- Biodiversity ….Green
- Curriculum connection
- Allows active and creative play
- Form Function
Her rule of thumb is to dream big but start small. Have a 10 year plan and just take on one section each year. The plan is actually ongoing and as part of sustainability never actually finishes.
Catherine Andrews, CEO of Learning Through Landscapes
movement with the vision that every child benefits from stimulating outdoor learning and playing. Catherine spoke extensively about LTL which has been detailed elsewhere in this blog. UK