Since 1995, the Boston Schoolyard Initiative (BSI) has been transforming Boston's schoolyards from barren asphalt lots into dynamic centers for recreation, learning and community life. School-by-school, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, BSI has reached children, families, community members and teachers with vibrant outdoor spaces for increased physical activity and creative new approaches to using the schoolyard for teaching and learning. We accomplish our work through a public-private partnership between the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools and the Boston Schoolyard Funders Collaborative. The Commmunity Ecionomic Development Assistance Corporation serves as our fiscal sponsor.
BSI’s impact on Boston’s neighborhoods has been profound:
- 84 schoolyards revitalized
- 25,000 school children reached
- 130 acres of asphalt reclaimed
Principals report that BSI schoolyards lead to increased physical activity (100%); improved student behavior (63.2%) and improved relationships with parents and community (73.7%).*
The BSI model continues to evolve. New outdoor classroom designs, included in every schoolyard renovation, bring teaching outdoors and nature to the schoolyard. Green practices, including green roofs on tool shed and recycled rubber surfaces are now often a part of schoolyard design and construction. And BSI teaching resources and professional development help teachers revitalize instruction and motivate students to learn. BSI-designed Science in the Schoolyard and Outdoor Writers Workshop training are reaching teachers and whole faculties, creating teams of teachers within schools and across the district who incorporate the schoolyard into teaching and learning.
*BPS principal survey, 2009