Dyment, JE and Bell, A, Active by Design: Promoting Physical Activity through School Ground Greening, Children's Geographies, 5, (4) pp. 463-477. ISSN 1473-3285 (2007) [Refereed Article]
Green school grounds exhibit a greater diversity of landscaping and design features than conventional school grounds, thus enhancing the quantity and quality of physical activity among elementary school children. Through greening, school grounds diversify the play repertoire, creating opportunities for boys and girls of all ages, interests and abilities to be more physically active. This paper builds on a 2006 study (Bell and Dyment, 2006, Grounds for Action: Promoting Physical Activity through School Ground Greening in Canada, Toronto, Ontario: Evergreen) and explores factors related to school ground design and culture that both limit and enable opportunities for physical activity. Questionnaires (N = 105) were completed by teachers, parents, and administrators associated with 59 schools across Canada. Results indicate that in order to stimulate active play, school grounds should be designed to provide adequate space, diverse play opportunities and interaction with natural elements. Safety, comfort and maintenance issues also need to be taken into consideration at the design stage. With respect to school ground culture, children are more active when rules, policies and supervision allow for non-competitive, open-ended play, as well as opportunities to care for the garden or green space. The implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations are offered for policy makers. © 2007 Taylor & Francis.
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