International School Grounds Month
In May each year, the International School Grounds Alliance calls on schools around the globe to take their pupils outside to celebrate their grounds. Building on these ideas, Green Schoolyards America advocated for the Living Schoolyard Month resolution in California—ACR-128.
Living Schoolyard Month for California
May is the annual celebration of Living Schoolyard Month in California—an event aligned with the annual global celebration of International School Grounds Month.
The movement to green our school grounds and connect children with nature has taken an important leap forward. The California state assembly adopted a new resolution that encourages school districts to design and construct schoolyard green spaces and use them to teach academic curricula outdoors. Authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting of San Francisco (D), the Living Schoolyard Month Resolution (ACR-128) establishes an annual, statewide celebration of school grounds to be held each year in May. Building on the success of previous statewide school garden programs, it expands the depth and breadth of outdoor education beyond horticulture and nutrition to connect schoolyard greening to the health of urban ecosystems, child development needs, and the quality of life for students and their local communities.
We encourage schools across California and beyond to take their students outside during the month of May—and throughout the year—to celebrate their grounds and use them for hands-on learning, place-based inquiry, recreation, environmental stewardship and community-building.
In 2015, California schools participated in the first Living Schoolyard Month by bringing more of their academic classes outside for hands-on lessons during the month of May, and establishing practices that they can use throughout the year. Many schools and other organizations across the state also held community celebrations, schoolyard work parties and gardening classes in honor of this first annual event.
The 2015 Living Schoolyard Month resolution is an important milestone in California’s approach to promoting outdoor green spaces for all children in K-12 public schools and for the state’s thriving green schoolyard movement. Building on the success of previous school garden programs, it expands the depth and breadth of outdoor education beyond horticulture and nutrition to connect schoolyard greening to the health of urban ecosystems, child development needs and the quality of life for students and their local communities.
How can your school participate?
• Plan a project to make your schoolyard greener or assist a local school by volunteering on a work day
• Organize events to celebrate and use your school’s existing green space
• Spread the word about Living Schoolyard Month
• Recommend that your city government includes schoolyard ecology as a component of their green city planning efforts
• Encourage your school district to support ecological schoolyards and outdoor classrooms that improve children’s learning and play environments and enhance neighborhood ecology
• Try some lessons outside with PreK-12 students by downloading our free Activity Guides, which include schoolyard activity ideas contributed by 123 organizations.
• Write about your May celebrations of Living Schoolyard Month and share them with us at: info at greenschoolyards dot org
• Join California’s statewide Living Schoolyard Network by registering your school here