Green Schoolyards

Growing Green Schoolyards

PlayCore has joined forces with the Children & Nature Network to raise awareness and overcome barriers in the implementation of green schoolyards. Together, we will survey and engage school staff and other partners, share best practices, create model environments, and share benefits, impact, and outcomes to inform and grow green schoolyards across the US.

Take the Survey!

Helps us uncover trends, interests, challenges and needs of green schoolyards with this quick survey.


Why Green Schoolyards?

Studies have proven that children’s exposure to nature is beneficial in a variety of meaningful ways. Collectively, this body of research shows that children’s academic, social, psychological, cognitive, and physical health is positively impacted when they have daily exposure to nature.

Since students spend most of their weekday hours in school, greening schoolyards is a vital and logical step to support children's’ overall health and well-being. According to studies featured in NatureGrounds® and Pathways for Play™, students in outdoor environments:

  • Demonstrate increased physical activity, focus and cognitive function  
  • Engage in more creative and self-directed forms of play 
  • Show reduced symptoms of attention deficit disorders and stress
  • Benefit from improved social relations and self discipline 
  • Have positive opportunities to engage with family and community members

This body of validated research makes green schoolyards an important component in the overall health and success of children, families, schools, and communities.

What is a Green Schoolyard?

We embrace the Children & Nature Network’s definition of green schoolyards as multi-functional school grounds designed for and by the school community that offer places for students, teachers, parents, and community members to play, learn, explore, and grow. During out-of-school time, these schoolyards are ideally open to the community to use.

A Green Schoolyard can include:

  • Outdoor classrooms
  • Native and pollinator gardens
  • Stormwater capture
  • Traditional play equipment
  • Nature play areas
  • Edible gardens
  • Trails
  • Trees and landscape enhancement

How can we advance this movement?

Movements work best when a variety of interested parties collectively contribute to a common goal. PlayCore is joining the green schoolyards movement, with the Children & Nature Network and other leaders, to help advance a national green schoolyards agenda. We welcome the ideas, interest and support of  school administrators, parents, teachers, and communities.  We invite you to join us as we continue to promote, build, and evaluate green schoolyards, and build a library of tools and resources. Check out our current collection of tools below, and contact us to learn more.


Green Schoolyards Executive Summary

Request the executive summary to read about the research, best practice design principles, and discover resources.

Request Summary

Children & Nature Network

Learn more about Children & Nature Network's Green Schoolyards initiative

Learn More

Green Schoolyard Models

View and download examples of green schoolyards



Learn more abut NatureGrounds and request a copy of the guidebook

Learn More

Pathways for Play™

Learn more about Pathways for Play and request a copy of the guidebook

Learn More


Discover funding opportunities for green schoolyards

Find Funds