Schoolyards & Outdoor Classrooms
The Boston Schoolyard Initiative's work can be seen in neighborhoods all over Boston.
When we started our work in 1995, Boston's schoolyards were dreary asphalt lots. Since then, BSI has transformed 78 schoolyards into centers for play, learning and community. Common elements include play equipment, painted graphics, site furniture, public art and outdoor classrooms. Results include:
- Active Kids – Principals report that increased physical activity is the #1 benefit of BSI-renovated schoolyards.
- Engaged Students and Independent Learners – BSI provides teachers with the tools and professional development for taking learning outdoors, increasing interest in science, improving vocabulary and creating independent learners.
- Stronger Communities – BSI schoolyards engage communities, revitalize neighborhoods and create stronger school-community relationships.
From the beginning, a BSI objective was adding plants and green space to urban neighborhoods. In recent years, BSI has pioneered the concept of urban Outdoor Classrooms on Boston Public Schools' schoolyards, and has been including an outdoor classroom in every schoolyard renovation since 2007. These schoolyard features are specially designed to support teaching and learning and provide a dose of nature just outside the school door. BSI outdoor classrooms include a sample woodland, urban meadow, planting beds and more. A couple of specialized outdoor classrooms include a greenhouse at Boston Latin Academy, and a wetland at West Roxbury High School.
In this section, you will find information on our current capital projects, a map with basic information on our completed projects, a photo gallery, good idea showcase and resources for schoolyard maintenance and stewardship. For more information on BSI outdoor classroom and schoolyard designs see Schoolyard Planning and Design.