The Boston Schoolyard Initiative's work can be seen in neighborhoods all over Boston.
When we started our work in 1995, Boston's schoolyards were dreary asphalt lots. Since then, BSI transformed 88 schoolyards into centers for play, learning and community. Common elements include play equipment, painted graphics, site furniture, public art and outdoor classrooms. Results include:
- Active Kids – Principals report that increased physical activity is the #1 benefit of BSI-renovated schoolyards.
- Engaged Students and Independent Learners – BSI provided teachers with the tools and professional development for taking learning outdoors, increasing interest in science, improving vocabulary and creating independent learners.
- Stronger Communities – BSI schoolyards engaged communities, revitalized neighborhoods and created stronger school-community relationships.
From the beginning, a BSI objective was adding plants and green space to urban neighborhoods. In recent years, BSI pioneered the concept of urban Outdoor Classrooms on Boston Public Schools' schoolyards, and has been including an outdoor classroom in every schoolyard renovation since 2007. These schoolyard features are specially designed to support teaching and learning and provide a dose of nature just outside the school door. BSI outdoor classrooms include a sample woodland, urban meadow, planting beds and more. A couple of specialized outdoor classrooms include a greenhouse at Boston Latin Academy, and a wetland at West Roxbury High School.