Human Environments Avalysis Laboratory

HEAL News

Gilliland cuts ribbon to Oxford Natural Learning Environment

Sunday, September 29, 2013

On Saturday, September 28, 2013, Dr Jason Gilliland helped cut the ribbon to officially open the Oxford Natural Learning Environment (ONLE) at the Montessori Academy in London, as part of the 12th annual Doors Open London festivities.   The ONLE is the outcome of a schoolyard conversion project which included the replacement of asphalt with grass, wood, and sand, and the addition of many new trees and natural objects and spaces for creative play.  Dr Gilliland also spoke to attendees – which included dozens of students, teachers, the design team, elected officials, and the general public – about research which shows how spending more time outdoors, particularly in nature, can have positive effects on children’s health and well-being.  Dr. Gilliland and geography graduate student Sarah McCans from the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory are studying how the intervention of the naturalized environment has altered children’s play patterns and potential influences on classroom behaviours.