The Green Schoolyards Collective provides resources, best practices, and a platform for collaboration while connecting a diverse range of stakeholders who are working toward improving the state of our children’s health, ability to succeed and overall school experience. Our focus will be 1) finding more funding for our members' work, 2) assuring that we are building the best and most sustainable projects possible, and 3) providing proper support for teachers.
Each participating organization in the Collective brings knowledge and strengths to this work. Collectively, we will share our resources and assets with our many collaborative partners, and advance the movement to connect children with nature’s many benefits.
The Green Schoolyards Collective amplifies the collective voices, actions and strengths of individuals and organizations to advance the movement to create nature rich school-based experiences.
We envision schools, both inside the classroom but more importantly outside the building itself, as places where our children truly blossom. Through experiential learning, physical activity and connection they appreciate the diversity of life – human and non-human – around them. They discover the value of observation, play, exploring boundaries and having a stronger connection to the food they eat. We are
motivated and provoked by the compelling research that shows significant improvement in cognitive abilities and academic performance with repeated exposure to the natural world and that these outdoor spaces help students to become healthier and more socially connected. And we are committed to making sure the benefits of spaces such as this are accessible and utilized by all children in all neighborhoods throughout our region.
The efforts of the Collective must address all these issues and provide a sustainable pathway for these types of projects and programs to catalyze, develop and thrive. The work will be guided by the following principles:
- We will come together and self-govern in a way that empowers groups, shares leadership and is truly inclusive, and that prioritizes the success of the whole vs. the success of the individual partners.
- We imagine, plan, develop and sustain these special spaces and experiences by committing appropriate resources and attention to their creation and sustainability.
- We maintain these efforts through connections between schools and the broader community who are involved decision-makers, implementers, nurturers and stewards.
- We commit to making sure the benefits of these transformative efforts reach all schools and communities in our region, especially those in underserved communities.
We do this by:
- Bringing together diverse voices – school and district staff, teachers, students, parents, community groups, non-profit partners – to inform our work through communications, mutual support and meaningful convenings
- Being a resource for our stakeholders and the broader community
- Setting standards for successful, sustainable projects
- Nurturing new collaborations and leveraging community assets
- Seeking funding to support new projects
- Advocating and educating schools and funders to the value and benefits of these projects
- Supporting teachers to be more successful
- Holding ourselves accountable and finding ways to evaluate and measure our success
We build this effort on the following shared values:
- Empowered stakeholders – leading with an equity lens
- Inclusivity and the promotion of underserved voices
- Collaboration over competition
- Meaningful and transformative partnerships