Groene School Pleinen

  • Posted on: 25 September 2017
  • By: Koen Linthorst

Short summary

Groene School Pleinen translates accurately into English as, Green Playgrounds of Schools. The idea originated around 1990 in the Netherlands when a company named Oase decided it was time to change the way children experience and interact with their play time in their play grounds. Oase visited some schools in Switzerland when they saw that instead of children playing on what can be known as a standard playground (asphalt playground), children were playing in the playground  of a natural type. With many different elements of nature and the environment for children to play (and learn) in.

Oase was shocked by the positive interaction of the children with the natural 'playground' environment. The situation existed where children were playing and learning in fun ways in the natural environment, instead of the classical playground atmosphere, where children were running around screaming in chaotic behavior. Oase therefore believes all school children should have the opportunity and possibility to be part of situations like this and thus wanted to bring this implementation to Dutch playgrounds.


From the positive feedback, Oase believes that all school children should have the opportunity and possibility to be part of situations like this and thus wanted to bring this implementation to Dutch playgrounds. There are many reasons for Green Playgrounds to be a reality, but the main 7 which Groene School Pleinen addresses are those of:

  • Challenging children to be active, increasing trend of overweight children
  • Children on average staying at schools longer
  • Bringing children in contact with nature
  • Educational about the natural environment
  • Children play better together
  • Children, parents and the neighbourhood is interactive
  • Good for the biodiversity

The basic vision arose from the idea that in general, children should have more opportunity to be interactive with their natural environment. This vision can be easiest tackled with the help and collaboration of schools.

Groene School Pleinen is also a great example of putting end users in a central position. Incorporating the children in the thought and planning process.

Transformational Measures and Activities

Transformational measures and activities are simple yet effective. Basic measures consist of the transformation of the concrete playgrounds into natural environments. Those natural environments should be made up of greenery and water and any other form of natural environment, which can give children the opportunity to experience natural built environment situations.

Activities can be complementary to these transformations as many various activities can take place after such implementation. Many complementary activities can be used as educational ones and allow children to enjoy and learn from their environments. For example, a complementary activity could be for children to take care of the plants. This would allow children to become more aware of their environment in a fun and educational way.


These results are relative to the points stated in Context. The results of Groene School Pleinen are:

  • More active children, decreasing amount of overweight children
  • Children have more diverse environments to intervene in, considering the longer school hours
  • Children play better and nicer together
  • More education and intervention for children with their natural environment
  • Children, parents and neighbourhoods working together for their environment. Thinking and working together
  • More biodiversity to the area

Challenges, Opportunities and Transferability

It could be a challenge to sustain such a playground/ garden correctly. When considering a natural environment, more elements need to be taken into consideration other than just creating a concrete school yard. Someone needs to be responsible the new environment. But this can also be seen as an opportunity as it can give children the chance to learn and be responsible in this type of area.

Transferability of such measures should be easy. Anywhere where there is a school that has an outdoor playground, the possibility of transformation to take place to a natural environment should be possible.

In Depth