learn / 2016
Enhancing the schoolyard to promote outdoor learning
Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?
Rockdale Visual and Performing Arts Magnet Elementary School (Rockdale VAPA Magnet), Rockdale PTA
Please describe your project proposal.
Our proposal is a school, and community-led project to convert the existing schoolyard into a living landscape and to create an outdoor learning environment that supports the visual and performing arts, and the school curriculum. The components include multipurpose areas for open-air classes, sculpture, art, and sensory gardens, performances, adventure and water play, nature discovery and informal gatherings. Both the project and its outcome are envisioned to support learning.
Which of the learn metrics will your proposal impact?
- Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math
- Early education
- Students’ perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school
- Suspension and expulsion rates
- Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools
In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- East LA
Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to learn?
There has been an incredible amount of research that has accumulated over the last decade on School Greening Projects. It shows that green spaces are more conducive to learning, creating and the well-being of students. The Children and Nature Network, in its infographics, very succinctly summarizes the research that Green Schoolyards can ‘provide mental health benefits, improve academic outcomes, encourage beneficial play and increase physical activity.’ Numerous organizations like the International School Grounds Alliance, Green Schoolyards America, Children and Nature Network, People for Parks, school districts across the United States and researchers like Herbert W. Broda & Sharon G. Danks have promoted the transformation of large swaths of asphalted shool yards into inspiring and exciting spaces.
Our project is a continuation of this movement towards improving the learning environment in schools by enhancing the areas outside the classroom buildings. The research intent is to explore multiple ways the students can use the schoolyard. The application is to create a landscape that directly supports the school’s magnet program- visual and performing arts as well as LAUSD academic goals. The idea is to generate low-cost designs that can help transform the current outdoor spaces into a landscape with numerous social, visual, sensory, and dynamic opportunities for the students.
We see the design project itself as a learning opportunity and want the students to actively participate in its development. We also want to introduce visual research through videos and movies that record the process and familiarize students and teachers with moviemaking.
To summarize, the project encompasses the following in the service of learning:
enhancement of outdoor spaces that support the visual and performing arts and school curriculum through low-cost schoolyard improvement.
involvement of students, teachers, staff and community with design and implementation.
integration of technology and open-air learning by visual documentation and moviemaking.
production of a research document and videos that detail the process from conception to completion.
assistance in teacher training for outdoor learning and media editing that directly supports the Magnet’s visual and performing arts emphasis.
formulation of guidelines for other LAUSD schools and PTA’s to implement similar projects.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
The success of the project will be measured by the following:
student involvement and learning
implementation of the project with students and teachers actively using the outdoor spaces
a resultant improvement in student academic achievement and behavior
long-term research that provides real-time documentation of the process
integration of technology and outdoor space
successful collaboration between Wyota Workshop, Rockdale VAPA Magnet, Rockdale PTA, and LAUSD
How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?
- Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
- Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
- Community outreach
- Network/relationship support