Green schoolyards as havens from stress and resources for resilience in childhood and adolescence

Health Place. 2014 Jul:28:1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2014.03.001. Epub 2014 Mar 29.


This paper investigates how green schoolyards can reduce stress and promote protective factors for resilience in students. It documents student responses to green schoolyards in Maryland and Colorado in the United States under three conditions: young elementary school children׳s play in wooded areas during recess; older elementary school children׳s use of a naturalized habitat for science and writing lessons; and high school students׳ involvement in gardening. Drawing on ethnographic observations and interviews, it describes how the natural areas enabled students to escape stress, focus, build competence, and form supportive social groups. These findings have implications for theories of resilience and restoration and school interventions for stress management.

Keywords: Children; Nature; Resilience; Schoolyards; Stress.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Baltimore
  • Child
  • Colorado
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Emotions*
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Gardening
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Maryland
  • Play and Playthings / psychology*
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Psychology, Child
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Schools
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*