Videos

Showcasing excellent and innovative school grounds around the world

The videos listed below illustrate the range of vibrant school ground projects that are happening around the world, and include some of the most influential voices that are leading this diverse movement. Video footage is a fantastic medium for sharing work in this field since it allows the viewer to glimpse these dynamic projects in action.  Enjoy!

If you know of additional organizations and projects that should be profiled here, please let us know.


International Video

  • Voices from the International School Grounds Movement - California 2011 is a video about the growing international movement toward more exciting school grounds and the Engaging Our Grounds Conference, held in San Francisco and Berkeley, California, Sept. 16-18, 2011. This is the first video produced by the new International School Grounds Alliance! (8:09)  

Australia

Canada

In 2002, the Canadian National Film Board produced A Crack in the Pavement, a two-part video series about school ground greening, featuring schools from across Canada. Evergreen* includes these excellent pieces on their website.

  • Growing Dreams is an inspirational video where students share their thoughts, feelings, and advice on implementing a successful school ground greening project. (19:08)
  • Digging In! is an instructional video where an exchange between a school just starting and a school with an established project forms the framework for kids to share their advice to others interested in starting. (18:35)

England

  • Learning through Landscapes: Dream Playground - This video profiles Jessop Primary School in England, as it goes through a participatory design process to transform the ordinary school ground into one with a variety of engaging outdoor improvements. (5:15)
  • Cassop Primary School in northern England won the Ashden Award for their exemplary efforts to create sustainable energy systems at their school. This video includes a tour of the energy systems onsite. (5:05)
  • Glamis Adventure Playground - Bernard Spiegal* of PLAYLINK in London, England reviews the merits of the play environment at this British adventure playground. Many of the concepts discussed are also relevant to the context of school grounds. (5:49)
  • Scrapstore Playpods in Action - This video documents the "playpod" concept at a school in England, where children are given a wide variety of everyday objects to play with during their recess play time, in order to encourage creative, free play. (9:47)
  • Taking the Curriculum Outside the Classroom - Coombes School in Arborfield, England is a trailblazer in the field of school ground transformation and the school's faculty members are experts in the art of connecting the curricula to the school ground landscape. Headteacher Susan Humphries (now retired) led this exemplary school for almost forty years, and speaks about her school's work in this video. (3:27)
  • The Power of Outdoor Experiences: Shaping Grounds for the Children´s Needs - In this video, Susan Humphries, Headteacher of Coombes School in England for almost forty years (now retired), talks about her work and the school's approach to infusing the outdoor environment into every aspect of curriculum and play at the school. The presentation was given as Ms. Humphries accepted an honorary doctorate degree from the Swedish Agricultural University in Uppsala, Sweden in October 2011. (approx. 20:00)
  • Play in Schools - This short film created by Play England talks about the importance of play during primary school children's school day, and illustrates the ideas discussed using case studies at St. John The Baptist School and Evergreen Adventure Playground in London, England.

Germany

  • Berlin, Germany is home to hundreds of innovative school grounds, many of which have received assistance in developing their grounds from the organization, Grün macht Schule*.  Grün macht Schule's website includes videos from a variety of projects. (See the "Movies" tab on their website
  • The Berlin Story - Alastair Seaman from Grounds for Learning in Scotland reflects on a visit to Berlin, Germany and describes key features of school ground design and management in Berlin. (5:03)

Jordan

The Netherlands

Scotland

  • Grounds for Learning: How we can help? - This video is about Grounds for Learning and their work with schools and school grounds across Scotland. (2:35)
  • Natural Play in Schools - This video makes a strong case for creating natural playgrounds in schools as it follows the development of three natural playgrounds at schools in Scotland. Grounds for Learning. (13:59)
  • Early Years and Risk - This video makes the case for the benefits of teaching children about the appropriate uses of real tools (hammers, saws) at a very young age. Grounds for Learning. (4:39)
  • Messy Outdoor Maths - This piece presents ideas for taking mathematics outdoors, led by Juliet Robertson from Creative STAR Learning in Scotland.  Grounds for Learning. (3:47)
  • The Creative Spark for Literacy - “In this video, Gordon MacLellan looks at the value of using natural objects in an outdoor setting to inspire and support creative writing.” Grounds for Learning. (3:39)
  • Nature Curriculum in the Early Years - Mandy Tulloch from Mud Pie Adventures encourages children to explore the natural world and to use natural materials found on trips outside to connect to the curriculum. Grounds for Learning. (4:21)
  • Fire as a Learning Tool - In this video, outdoor educator Penny Martin discusses how to safely use fire as a teaching tool with children. Imaginative use of fire can teach a range of skills from responsibility to developing creative design abilities and raising awareness of the need for safety.  Grounds for Learning. (3:47)
  • Developing Your Grounds: Nature’s Playground - “Landscape designer Judi Legg shows how loose natural materials can be used to encourage pupils to use and develop their imaginations during non-descriptive play. Gus Egan, from Earth Calling, offers advice on developing school grounds for natural play, involving all members of the school community. This range of video clips from Grounds for Learning aims to support and inspire staff to take pupils outdoors into school grounds and local areas.” Grounds for Learning. (4:34)
  • In Focus: Forest Kindergarten - “Forest Kindergarten is a unique learning opportunity that allows young children to have fun in the great outdoors. Pupils from St Paul's Nursery climb trees, make dens, hunt for treasure and explore the local woods assisted by Forestry Commission and Countryside Rangers.”  (5:42)
  • St. Bride’s Primary School: School Ground Ambitions, How we could improve our grounds - Students at St. Bride’s Primary School give their perspective about opportunities to improve their school grounds. (2:02)
  • St. Bride’s Primary School: Why they are great, Our really fab school grounds - Students at St. Bride’s Primary School take viewers on a tour of their school grounds and point out the things that they enjoy onsite. (2:34)

Switzerland

  • School's Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten - "No classroom for these school children: this documentary film takes us to a forest kindergarten in Switzerland where children age 4 to 7 spend every day outside in the forest. This is a thought-provoking film about public education in early childhood."

United Arab Emirates

  • Sustainable Schools Initiative - This video, mostly in Arabic with a small amount of English, talks about a movement started in 2003 with the help of BP to educate children in Abu Dhabi about environmental sustainability. Using instruments to measure air quality, as well as use of water and electricity, the students are able to document their consumption and its effect on their surroundings. Other projects in the initiative include a school garden and the sorting of paper and trash. The children also have access to the internet which enables them to exchange ideas and best practices for environmental sustainability. The children aim to educate the public as well. (9:57)

United States of America

California - Berkeley

  • The Edible Schoolyard at Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley, California is doing outstanding work in the fields of school gardens and nutrition education, and is a trailblaiser in these areas in United States. Many videos have been created about their outstanding work.  Here are two that provide an overview:
  • Green Schoolyards: Turning Nature into Classrooms - The school community at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Berkeley, California has created a green schoolyard that connects the school's environmental science and gardening programs to the surrounding school grounds. Teachers, parents, and students have helped to design, build, and maintain schoolyard elements which include areas for nature play, blended into the outdoor classroom environments. The book Asphalt to Ecosystems by Sharon Danks* is also discussed. (3:08)

California - Palo Alto

California - San Francisco

  • Grey to Green - The San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance* has been collaborating with the San Francisco Unified School District to inspire new school gardens and green schoolyards to take root across the city. (9:49)

Hawaii - Kamuela

Illinois - Chicago

Louisiana - New Orleans

Maine - Portland

  • Beyond the Blacktop - Featuring Laura Newman* and Portland Trails, this video talks with local school staff about the benefits of natural play features in their school grounds. (21:42)
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