Any good schoolyard planning project starts with collecting feedback from the people who use the yard. Over the 2016 calendar year, the Churchill Schoolyard Rejuvenation team laid the groundwork for the planning process by asking what students, teachers and parents like, don’t like, and want to see with the yard.
In the Spring of 2016, Churchill teachers asked their students:
- What do you DO in the yard?
- What do you MOST LIKE TO DO in the yard?
- What do you NOT LIKE TO DO in the yard?
- What are the PROBLEMS with the yard?
- What WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO in the yard?
Below you’ll find a summary of student responses to each of these questions. A few general insights follow at the end of the post.
Question 1: What do you DO in the yard?
Question 2: What do you MOST LIKE TO DO in the yard?
Question 3: What do you NOT LIKE TO DO in the yard?
Question 4: What are the PROBLEMS with the yard?
Question 5: What WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO in the yard?
Taking all this data into consideration, here are some summary insights that likely won’t be a surprise to those who know the yard:
- When asked “What do you DO in the yard” Grade 1 and 2 students say that they spend most of their time using the structure (41 responses) or playing tag / manhunt (48 responses). BUT, when asked “What do you MOST LIKE TO DO in the yard” many Grade 1 and 2 students say that they want to use the structure (38 responses) while only 17 say that they most want to play tag / manhunt. When we look at what Grade 1 and 2 students say in response to “What are the PROBLEMS with the yard, 17 say the structure is too crowded. From this data it seems as though the Grade 1 and 2 students really want to use the structure but that it’s often too crowded. The next question to ask – is it that they want to use the whole structure or just the monkey bars? To find this out, a next step is to survey students to find out which specific elements of the play structure they most often use and which elements they do not use and why.
- The students have strong opinions about soccer. Soccer shows up as a much loved activity for all grade levels, AND shows up at the top of what students DO NOT like to do in the yard. What’s going on here? It is our hunch that when many students say that they do not like to do soccer, what they really mean is “we don’t like it when other kids play soccer”. This may be because soccer tends to spread into other activities in the lower yard in a disruptive way, interfering with other games.
- For students across all grade levels, the chaotic lower yard is stated as being a big problem. Many students have expressed that they are concerned with the tight space, with balls flying everywhere, and with a lack of designated space for the games they want to play.
- Many students identified that there is just not enough grass in the yard!
Do you see any other interesting trends, or do you want to share any other insights? Get in touch to share your thoughts… or provide your comments below.
Stay tuned for the teacher and parent feedback – coming soon!