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European Innovative Teaching Award

Green playground and outdoor learning

School: Vrije basisschool Sint-Paulus

Green playground and outdoor learning - Belgium

Topic(s) addressed

  • Green school ground and outdoor learning


  • Creativity, collaboration and sustainability

  • Learning through play, green steam and the use of shared space

  • Climate adaptation and mitigation

  • Heat stress and air quality

  • School ground design

Target groups

  • Primary school Sint-Paulus: 450 children 2,5- 12 years old, 35 teaching staff 21- 65 years old

  • Kindergarten Kindervilla (Austria): 124 children 2- 6 years old

  • Schools worldwide


In what ways are the teaching and learning approaches elaborated and implemented in the project innovative?

  • The school has actively used the eTwinning platform and School Education Gateway to exchange ideas with partners and to find interesting courses. In this way, an active collaboration was established which was given shape through the use of various sites. 

  • By setting up job shadowing and attending inspirational training sessions, the team was able to quickly deepen their understanding of the themes that were important to the project. 

  • The themes and lessons learned were then brought back to the school team via information sessions. 

  • In addition, experiments were set up to put lessons learned into practice and to see what works or does not work. In this way, the children also became part of the story and could exchange their ideas through eTwinning.


In what ways do learning environments in the project support innovative teaching and learning approaches?

  • In order to introduce outdoor learning, the school has been working on creating a fantastic playing and learning environment. 

  • The school playground was given a complete makeover based on the lessons learned from our exchanges and courses. 

  • More than 40 trees and 160 indigenous shrubs were planted and a vegetable garden, chickens and bees were introduced into the school. 

  • A rainwater harvesting basin was built under the playground and 150 000 litres of rainwater are now being reused. 

  • Children play with natural materials in a beautiful environment. The playground is open during holidays and weekends. 

The whole neighbourhood now enjoys this green oasis in the heart of the city. This could only be realised by setting up close partnerships, both nationally and internationally.


In what ways have teachers/educators involved in the project influenced the innovative teaching and learning processes?

  • Our project started from a gut feeling that if we want to increase the well-being of our children, innovate our teaching practice, and develop an appropriate pedagogy, we have to invest in our outdoor space. 

  • Thanks to this project, we have succeeded wonderfully in integrating climate change topics, 21-century skills and digitalisation. 

  • Our initial intuition was confirmed in the exchange with colleagues from Spain and Austria and thanks to the inspiring courses on outdoor education teaching methods. 

  • Our team of teachers uses the outdoor space on an almost daily basis and sees it as an extension of their classroom. It is therefore a success across the board.


What is the impact of the innovative teaching and learning processes elaborated and implemented in the project?

  • By cooperating with landscape designers, we have succeeded in creating a high-quality outdoor space that can be used in many ways. 

  • After school, the local community uses the playground for various activities, 

  • The school is seen as an example of best practice which attracts visits from many professionals and the team can now present the project worldwide, from India to Sweden and the USA. 

  • But the most important for us is to see smiling children, the quality of playtime and the burgeoning greenery that creates a great atmosphere. 

  • The choices made were great and the partnerships enriched our project.

Project category
Primary education
Project year



Vrije Basisschool Sint-Paulus




Ceip JJ Rebollo