© De Platanen

Urban context

In Flanders, a number of projects provide subsidies and guidance to foster the greening of school grounds, to encourage play outside and make them more biodiverse and more resilient to the impacts of climate change. 

Measures and outcomes

Schools are encouraged to work with nature agencies to plan ‘greening’ actions to replace concrete areas with trees, hedges and edible plants, including natural play elements such as hills and climbing trunks. These new school grounds are co-created with children and parents. Pupils are involved in the construction and maintenance of the yards. Features such as insect hotels or bird houses are also included.

Schools reported that children have spent more time playing actively outside since the grounds have been greened, with a focus on outdoor learning as an educational activity. Children have shown improvements in their social behaviour and a growing awareness of nature. Green rest places were seen to be particularly important for sensitive children, such as children with autism.

The green school grounds contribute to biodiversity by making space for plant and animal species. Trees provide shade that help keep school grounds cool on hot days, while unsealed surfaces allow rainwater to permeate soils.

BlueGreen Flanders provides guidance on what to consider when planning a school grounds greening project (in Dutch), including ‘eight principles for a high-quality playground’.





Geographic coverage


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Filed under: urban green spaces
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