May 03 2013

Green Schoolyards and Their Effect on Education: Thessaloniki, Greece

It is really disappointing that every time we think of schools, a rigid, concrete structure comes to mind. Even in kindergarten, some of us remember playing inside the building, rather than enjoying a large green playground.

Hopefully, this won’t have to be the case for our children.

A few months ago, the municipality of Thessaloniki, Greece, announced a new contract notice for architects, in order to achieve greener environments for the city’s schoolyards. This contract notice aims at the transformation of eight schoolyards in Thessaloniki, with the hope of more being included on the “sustainable schools” list in the near future.

The regeneration of Schoolyards in Thessaloniki, Greece

37th and 41st Kindergartens of Thessaloniki, Greece

Even those not aware of the prominent “open-air schools” can easily understand the importance of nature for kids. Trees, flowers, rocks, and all elements of nature help to shape a diverse educational environment. Even if the lessons don’t take place outdoors, a natural environment would upgrade the entire school complex.

The municipality of Thessaloniki has also proposed the creation of “green roofs” for various public buildings of the city, including six schools. This also seems like an interesting initiative towards a more sustainable school environment.

What are the benefits of a green schoolyard?

  • It increases the environmental awareness of children;
  • It contributes to health promotion;
  • It helps children contact and interact with the natural environment, as a combination of both entertainment and creative play;
  • It improves the students’ physical activity;
  • It enhances their innate sense and curiosity with the natural environment, and finally;
  • It contributes to the environmental improvement of the entire neighborhood.

Furthermore, according to research, a greener school environment would also promote the students’ social and mental health.

Greener schoolyards in Thessaloniki, Greece

59th, 60th Primary Schools - 47th, 49th and 57th Kindergarten of Thessaloniki, Greece

It goes without saying that green schoolyards are extremely important for the future of education. Through interactions with the natural elements, students will be able to combine fun with creative play and learn at the same time. Isn’t this the kind of school we all dream of?

Are there any green schoolyards in the city you live in?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources. Plans based on the original plans 1 , 2 .

Dafni Dimitriadi

Dafni Dimitriadi is a student of Architecture at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Her numerous experiences in participating in architectural competitions have helped her understand the importance of research and design. She is interested in building and urban design restoration and aims to continue her studies in order to gain more knowledge related to these fields. She is an active volunteer and has participated in many interesting projects, including Open House Thessaloniki. She currently lives in Thessaloniki and through her blogs aims to explore developments associated with architecture and urban design.

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 3rd, 2013 at 9:23 am and is filed under Architecture, Education and Careers, Environment, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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2 Responses to “Green Schoolyards and Their Effect on Education: Thessaloniki, Greece”

  1. Dimitra Papadopoulou Says:

    Really nice article! Hope there are more “open-air schools” to be built in the future!

  2. Dafni Dimitriadi Says:

    Dear Dimitra, thank you a lot for you comment. It is true that “greener” schoolyards seem something really hopeful for the future of education.

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