Borderland Voices and Practices: The Ambiguity of Children’s Participation in School Grounds Greening



Mannion G (2005) Borderland Voices and Practices: The Ambiguity of Children’s Participation in School Grounds Greening. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 10 (1), pp. 241-255.

Commentators on children's experience (largely the urban experience of the developed countries) indicate that publicly accessible open space for children is being limited due to commercialization, litigation, fear for children's safety and changes in lifestyle. One of these open spaces facing change is the school grounds. Evidence is drawn from a Scottish based multiple case study of 22 school grounds projects. One finding is that when participation is a project goal, children can be involved at high levels of decision making and activity but that adults are seen to maintain a strong gatekeeper role. A typology of utopic practice is offered with respect to children's participation in grounds development. The analysis suggests that different project hopes and expectations can have multiple, ambiguous, and sometimes conflicting effects for children – a moot point for proponents of education for sustainable development who consider the need to address real world issues to be a central tenet.

children; decision making; participation; school grounds; green; environmental; adults; school; School grounds Design; Play areas; Decision making in children; Children and adults

Canadian Journal of Environmental Education: Volume 10, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2005
PublisherCanadian Journal of Environmental Education (CJEE). Published in cooperation with the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM) and Lakehead University
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Professor Gregory Mannion

Professor Gregory Mannion

Professor, Education