Schoolyards Count: How Ontario’s schoolyards measure up for health, physical activity, and environmental learning
Decades of research demonstrate that the outdoors are an important part of students’ learning, social development, physical and mental health, sense of connection to the school community, and build an appreciation and respect of the environment. Schoolyard quality makes a difference to well-being, physical activity levels and learning opportunities for children in school communities.
Schoolyards Count! is a partnership between Ophea and Dr. Kelly Gallagher-Mackay of Wilfred Laurier University, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. This study was undertaken to examine how Ontario’s schoolyards measure up for health, physical activity, and environmental learning. This report provides insight into the importance of local schoolyards and constitutes a first step towards supporting Ontario school communities to ensure that every schoolyard is well-maintained, suitable for play and sport, conducive to active transportation, and an environmental asset in the community.
Schoolyards represent a genuine opportunity to connect and foster spaces that bring school communities together. A great deal of learning can happen in schoolyards and in places that are safe, inclusive, and connect school community members to each other and the environment.