Enjoyed by Jack but Endured by Jill: an Exploratory Case Study Examining Differences in Adolescent Design Preferences and Perceived Impacts of a Secondary Schoolyard

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Abstract

The school grounds provide students opportunities for respite, relaxation and relief from daily stresses during breaks in the school day. However, it is unclear whether secondary schoolyard designs adequately support the diverse and evolving needs of adolescents, particularly at a time when they are experiencing rapid emotional and physical developmental change. To investigate this, quantitative methods were used to explore differences in perceptions of schoolyard attractiveness and restorative quality based on student gender and year level. A school-wide survey was administered to approximately 284 students in years 7 to 10 at a secondary school in Canberra, Australia. Results indicate significant declines in student perceptions of schoolyard attractiveness and restorative quality. Higher ratings of schoolyard likeability, accessibility, personal connection and restorative quality of ‘being away’ were associated with male students across all year levels. Further work is needed to explore how schoolyard environments can better support the design preferences and well-being needs of older and female students. Such information would help planners, designers and land managers develop schoolyard designs that are more equitable in their benefits to secondary school students of different genders and year levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4221
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2023

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