This is an incredibly simply activity to kickstart a whole school approach to developing your school grounds or simply for one class to think about their outdoor space. It also makes a refreshing, purposeful addition to other Valentine’s Day happenings.
1. Everyone who is participating needs two hearts – a large one and a small one. As well as children, staff and parents may wish to have their own hearts. In the past I’ve stuck hearts on luggage tags which works very well too.
2. Each person must place their big heart in the part of the playground they love the most. For example, a child who loves football may tie their luggage tag onto a goal post. On their heart they may write “I love being able to play football. My heart is at the football pitch.” I put mine on my holly tree.
3. Then each person puts their little heart in a place which needs more love. For example, a child may tie their heart near to a big puddle and write “There’s always a puddle here and I don’t like it because I might fall in it and get wet.”
For children who are unwilling or unable to write their ideas, they can have their ideas recorded verbally via an app such as Fotobabble – a talking photo.
4. The placement of big and little hearts can be captured on a map of the school grounds. This will tell you which areas are the most loved and which need more love.
5. With the little hearts – the places that need more love, the children can brainstorm ideas to make these parts of the grounds better. Each idea can be put into one of three categories:
- Now: this idea would take no time not money to put in place.
- Soon: this idea would take a little bit of time and/or money such as a fundraiser.
- Later: this idea would take a lot of time or money. We will reconsider this idea after trying some of the others.
The beauty of the now-soon-later approach is that any idea has a place in this technique. A child who wants a swimming pool can realise that it will take a lot of time or money. To move an idea into a more urgent category will require some persuasive arguments. Or, children can suggest a simple alternative that is cheaper, such as creating splash pools with tarp and tyres for paddling on a hot day.
The ideas and suggestions can be put into an action plan for the school to follow. Always remember to link this to other school improvements and to consider who will look after and maintain any of the ideas that are put into place.
I hope you LOVE this idea. Simple. Doable. Interesting. Enjoyable.
Finally there is a green heart campaign Show The Love – what do you wish for our world?