Story | 01 Feb, 2023

Highlights and Next steps for Greening School Grounds and Outdoor Learning

Since November 2021, the Children & Nature Network, in partnership with Salzburg Global Seminar, the International School Grounds Alliance, IUCN Commission on Communication and Education (CEC), #NatureForAll, National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families, engaged global leaders to identify and disseminate successful approaches to school ground greening and outdoor learning from around the world.

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Photo: Greening School Grounds

A cohort of fellows from across sectors and from around the world, many of them CEC and #NatureForAll members, came together over the course of a year to identify and codify Global Lessons on Greening School Grounds and Outdoor Learning, develop the Salzburg Statement, a Global Action Agenda and 13 case studies highlighting geographically and culturally diverse greening school grounds programs.

Please do read the Salzburg Statement for Greening School Grounds & Outdoor Learning designed to influence thinking, policy, and approaches to school grounds and outdoor learning opportunities. This Statement supports a Global Action Agenda that aims to advance a vision of a world where every child — especially the most vulnerable — connects meaningfully in nature every day.

The Global Action Agenda lists twenty-four concrete action items around advocacy and participation, inclusive engagement, funding and policy. The actions also align with many global focus areas, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Biodiversity Framework, the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, and the Transforming Education agenda. Any individual or organization interested in advancing this vision is highly encouraged to endorse and share the agenda with their networks.

After working virtually nine months, the cohort came together in-person at the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg in November 2022 with the goal to identify practical next steps to propel the international movement. Through a 4-day convening, fellows built a road map of necessary actions, partners, and resources through small-group discussions, workshops, panels, and activities to realize this goal.

Based on this road map, our work continues into 2023 where project partners and fellow participants will engage in dissemination of the lessons learned, through webinars, written pieces, virtual discussions, and other peer learning opportunities available to the public.

Under the premise "if children are to connect with nature every day for growing, playing and learning, school grounds must be part of the solution”, new project partners are coming together with a shared commitment to work together to advance the vision of a world where every child — especially the most vulnerable — connects meaningfully in nature every day.

You can still be part of this movement by providing your knowledge and experience in this international survey. We extend a special call to projects in Asia as we have only a few survey results from the region. Get involved in this important work!