In a report in the World Economic Forum, Matluba Kahn discusses a project to transform an elementary school lot in Bangladesh into an active playground for both recreation and learning. The project is interesting both because of the methods used to design this new outdoor learning and play space and because of the impact it has had.
The design process had the active involvement of both the students and the teachers. The students were engaged to discuss how they wanted to use the new learning space and to develop models of the space. Teachers were asked to examine the student models and add features that would allow them to conduct lessons from the curriculum.
The impact of the project on learning was positive. Grade IV students performed better in both math and science after the launch of the new playground space. Learning outdoors benefited all of the students, but it had a particularly strong impact on underachieving students. While such students were withdrawn in the classroom, they interacted more and participated more in the hands-on learning setting of the re-designed playground.