Can Green Space Around Schools Improve Academic Performance?

Green spaces are more than just pretty places to spend time in. Studies have shown that the presence of green spaces can have a positive impact on both physical and mental health, as well as on academic performance. In particular, green spaces around schools have been linked to better student outcomes. In this article, we explore the ways in which green spaces can benefit students and enhance their academic performance.

The Benefits of Green Spaces in Schools

Green spaces in school settings offer a range of benefits for students. Firstly, they provide a space for physical activity and outdoor play, which is important for children's overall health and wellbeing. Children who have access to green spaces are more likely to engage in physical activity, which can help prevent childhood obesity and other related health issues.

In addition to the physical benefits, green spaces can also provide a space for learning and exploration. School gardens, for example, offer opportunities for hands-on learning about plants, animals, and ecosystems. Outdoor classrooms and nature play spaces can also provide unique learning opportunities that are not available in traditional indoor classroom settings.

How Green Spaces Can Improve Academic Performance

Research has shown that green spaces around schools can have a positive impact on academic performance. Studies have found that students who attend schools with green spaces tend to have better grades, higher test scores, and better attendance rates than those who do not.

There are several reasons why green spaces may have this effect on academic performance. Firstly, green spaces can reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing, which can in turn lead to better concentration and focus. Exposure to nature has been shown to have a calming effect on the brain, which can help students feel more relaxed and focused in the classroom.

In addition, green spaces can provide a space for active learning and exploration, which can help students retain information and engage more deeply with the material. For example, a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that students who participated in garden-based learning had higher levels of science achievement and motivation than those who did not.

Best Practices for Implementing Green Spaces in Schools

If you're interested in bringing green spaces to your school, there are several best practices to keep in mind. Firstly, it's important to involve students and teachers in the planning and design process. This can help ensure that the green space meets the needs of the school community and is used effectively.

Secondly, it's important to think about maintenance and upkeep. Green spaces require ongoing maintenance, including watering, weeding, and pruning. It's important to have a plan in place for keeping the space looking its best.

Finally, it's important to consider the environmental impact of the green space. Choosing native plants and using sustainable gardening practices can help minimize the environmental impact of the green space and ensure that it remains a healthy and vibrant place for years to come.


Green spaces around schools offer a range of benefits for students, from improved physical health to better academic performance. By providing a space for outdoor play, hands-on learning, and active exploration, green spaces can help students thrive both inside and outside the classroom. If you're interested in bringing green spaces to your school, be sure to involve the school

Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH

Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top