Since 1995, the Boston Schoolyard Initiative (BSI) has been transforming Boston's schoolyards from barren asphalt lots into dynamic centers for recreation, learning, ...read more
and community life. School by school, neighborhood by neighborhood, BSI has reached children, families, community members, and teachers with vibrant outdoor spaces for increased physical activity and creative new approaches to using the schoolyard for teaching and learning. BSI is a public-private partnership between the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, and the Boston Schoolyard Funders Collaborative.
The Boston Schoolyard Initiative has completed projects on 88 schoolyards, including 32 outdoor classrooms. BSI has also created curriculum support materials that are available nationally, and offered professional development programs and resources through its Science in the Schoolyard and Outdoor Writers Workshop programs.
About Science in the Schoolyard
Science in the Schoolyard (SSY) is BSI’s science professional development program, developed in collaboration with BPS teachers, staff, and administrators. SSY has ...read more
helped teachers use the urban natural environment in their schoolyard (ranging from asphalt lots to BSI-designed outdoor classrooms) to teach the BPS science curriculum. The training aimed to help teachers develop the skill and knowledge to take their students into the schoolyard to demonstrate, test, apply, and explore core science concepts and skills. BSI’s Science in the Schoolyard resources include BSI-developed Science in the Schoolyard guides to teaching the Full Option Science System (FOSS) science curriculum outdoors. BSI’s pioneering work on the Science in the Schoolyard guides led to FOSS integrating outdoor lessons into the latest edition of its curriculum.
Over the last 10 years, 600 BPS teachers have taken at least one of BSI’s Science in the Schoolyard courses: Introduction to Teaching Outdoors; Introduction to Science in the Schoolyard; Developing Life Science Ideas Using the Schoolyard; Developing Earth Science Concepts Using the Schoolyard; and Developing Energy Concepts Using the Schoolyard. All courses were co-led by BPS teacher leaders. In addition, per agreement with the BPS Science Department, most BPS science kit trainings include an outdoor component.
Through Science in the Schoolyard, the Boston Schoolyard Initiative and BPS have created a district-wide initiative for innovation in science teaching, reaching thousands of Boston students each year.