Little classroom on the playground : increasing student academic achievement through integrating the playground into academics

Lora Ann Carey, California State University, Monterey Bay

Capstone Project (B.A.) Liberal Studies Department


Academic learning has long been relegated to the realm of the classroom. However, academic learning need not be limited to the indoor environment but in spilling out into the playground makes learning more relevant and engaging for students. However, few teachers regularly use the outdoors as part of academic instruction. This raised the question, “what hinders teachers from using the playground?” To better understand the attitudes and perspectives teachers hold about the playground's role in education, surveys were distributed to pre-service and in-service teachers. Most teachers felt that the playground should be used for movement activities like recess and physical education. Teachers stated that they were not sure how to use the playground academically and time constraints hindered them from using the playground. In order to effectively use the playground for academics, the playground infrastructure and school administration needs to be supportive of integrating academics. To support integrating academics, the playgrounds at Fort Portico Elementary School received an asphalt makeover. In creating an effective playground learning environment, the teachers are more likely to see direct academic applications.