Inclusive Schoolyards at the 33rd Primary School of Trikala, 29th Primary School of Athens, 93rd Primary School of Athens, 47th Primary School of Heraklion Crete, and the 7th Nursery School of Nea Philadelphia, Athens

The pedagogical program “Inclusive Schoolyards” was continued for the school year 2021-2022. This year, 4 primary schools around Greece participated (Athens, Trikala, Heraklio), while also a nursery school participated for the first time, for which we adjusted the methodology. The main objective of the program is to approach equality by enhancing the spatial qualities of the yard that respond to a greater diversity of children’s needs and desires.

A schoolyard based on equality and symbiosis can be the first step for a change!

During the program “Inclusive Schoolyards”, we implemented 7 online workshops to train the teachers and support them in the implementation of the proposed educational and raising awareness activities. The activities are based on the methodology we have elaborated in order to analyze the schoolyard collectively from the perspective of gender and inclusion. The workshops provided the space to create a sharing environment amongst the schools from the different cities of Greece. At the same time, albeit the difficulties due to the pandemic, we managed to visit some of the schools. There, we discussed in person with the teachers and the students their beliefs and experiences at school.

The activities of the program aim to analyse collectively the sociology of the schoolyard. During the activities arose central issues that concern the school communities. The children understood that everyone uses the schoolyard differently. That is why it should be designed accordingly to be able to serve more diverse needs and desires.

During playtime, we usually talk because we have nothing else to do. Or we sit in a corner with my girlfriends because the boys play all the time in the centre of the yard and we don’t have much space. – 5th grader, girl

Regarding the program’s methodology, it combines diverse educational and awareness-raising activities. So, with our guidance and in cooperation with the teachers, the children: 

  • Drew their schoolyard the way they perceived it.
  • Carried out participatory research by recording their classmates’ needs and wishes
  • Presented the results of the participatory research and explained to us the problems they spotted in their schoolyard. Specifically, it appears that they are mostly concerned about the lack of space for developing different activities. Chasing games and improvised football are the ones that take over most of the yard.
  • Each school collectively created one 3D model with creative suggestions for the schoolyard. They suggested outdoor games, a climbing frame, spaces for relaxing, an outdoor library, a sunshade, and more plants, among other things. The concept is to create equal spaces for dynamic and moderate activities using affordable and eco-friendly supplies.
  • Finally, through the program “Inclusive Schoolyards”, the children acknowledged that there are diverse needs regarding the use of the schoolyard, which were incorporated into their proposals. 

The educational part of the program has been completed and now is the time for the architectural interventions. The interventions are routed to the 33rd Primary School of Trikala and the 93rd Primary School of Athens, in collaboration with Amalia´s Stratou architectural office, and are based on the proposals of the children themselves.

Stay tuned to watch the progress towards an equal schoolyard! 

Location: 33rd Primary School of Trikala, 29th Primary School of Athens, Kyspeli, 93rd Primary School of Athens, Neos Kosmos, 47th Primary School of Heraklion, Crete, 7th Nursery School of Nea Philadelphia, Athens

Period: February – April 2022

Participating teachers: Dimitra Gavana, Eva Zamani, and Dimitris Psomas from the 29th Primary School of Athens, Katerina Chovarda and Katerina Mpampanikou from the 7th Nursery School of Nea Philadelphia, Evaggelia Lagopoulou, Anthoula (Anthi) Moustaka, Olga Kalliagra, and Panagiota Georgali (principal) from the 33rd Primary School of Trikala, Eleni (Lena) Kokosali from the 47th Primary School of Heraklion, Theodoros Terzopoulos, Evaggelia (Eva) Chouliara, and Georgos Orkas (principal) from the 93rd Primary School of Athens

The program is approved by the Institute of Educational Policy (IEP) of the Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, and it has received funding from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports