Green Schoolyards

Green Schoolyards

A small, but important part of the SFUSD Bond Program is the Green Schoolyard Program which provides funding primarily to elementary schools to expand or create a “green schoolyard” at their school-site.  The definition of a green schoolyard will vary, depending on the needs and desires of each school community.  Unlike the bulk of the Bond Program, school communities are free to design a usable “green” space that meets their goals and objectives.

The design process is an important aspect of the Green Schoolyard Program. “School community” participation, includes parents, students, teachers and administrators and is critical to the success of the design. During the design process, a school community not only will view presentations that can help them think “outside the box” when it comes to schoolyard greening, they will also participate in workshops designed to gather their insight and input regarding the design of their green schoolyard.

What is a Green Schoolyard?

Green schoolyards can include many different types of “green” elements. In many instances “greening” means removing some asphalt from a schoolyard and replacing it with small social seating, trees, planting areas, ponds or gardens.  Other schools may wish to create outdoor classrooms including tables, sinks and large classroom size seating areas where teachers can demonstrate and explain natural, environmental processes as part of a science curriculum or hold language, art or cooking classes.  In other cases the school community may identify the need for gathering spaces for children who are looking for alternatives to traditional play activities. These elements represent a small sample of what is possible in a green schoolyard.

Sustaining Green Schoolyard

Sustaining bond funded green schoolyards is a priority for the Green Schoolyard Program. Therefore, ongoing maintenance is an important consideration as a school community develops plans for its green schoolyard. At many schools, parents and students contribute their time and labor toward building and maintaining certain elements of their green schoolyard. In addition, fundraising to supplement green schoolyard bond funds is encouraged.

Program Stats & Status

Since the start of the Bond Program’s schoolyard greening efforts in 2005, $3.9 million has been allocated to 26 school sites (including 10 middle and high schools) named in the 2003 bond. Construction is now complete at all 2003 bond sites, yielding many successful green schoolyard spaces.  The effort to green San Francisco’s public school grounds continued in the 2006 bond program, where $6 million has been allocated to fund greening efforts at 29 elementary schools, 11 early education schools, four (4) middle schools and two (2) high schools. As of February, 2014 greening work is complete at 28 elementary schools. The remaining 2006 sites should complete their greening work by late 2015. The Prop A 2011 Bond provides for an additional $5 million for the next set of green schoolyards.

This page was last updated on April 26, 2022