Breaking New Ground? Reflections on Greening School Grounds as Sites of Ecological, Pedagogical, and Social Transformation


  • Janet E. Dyment University of Tasmania, Australia
  • Alan Reid University of Bath, United Kingdom


In this paper, we explore greening initiatives in school grounds as sites where ecological, pedagogical, and social transformation might be promoted and take place. Reflecting on our evaluations of school ground greening initiatives in Canada and England, we note that these initiatives are often at the margins of young peoples' experiences in schools and that their potential to be truly transformative can go unrealized. A series of tensions are highlighted in addressing a shift towards realizing their potential; these include situating greening school grounds more explicitly within the curriculum and securing broader institutional support. We also identify a more radical option, the repositioning of the kinds of outdoor learning that occurs in green school grounds as the basis of teaching and learning in Sterling's (2004) vision for "sustainable education."