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De Dolfijn Schoolyard

The Dolfijn Schoolyard in Haarlem is not only a schoolyard on its own. It serves as a place that children and the neighborhood can use after school times, during the week, and on weekends. It had only 14 m2 of green, only 7% of the total schoolyard! Several infiltration problems were happening together with very few diverse play opportunities in the schoolyard (only 6 existing play elements and 2 big football fields). This schoolyard needed climate adaptive childfriendly adaptiation!

A thorough process – including climate lessons, co-design, co-construction – involving several presentation for diverse stakeholders has brought us to a constantly improving design.  The school and the neighborhood are very happy with the results : a successful green community play area / schoolyard, cooler in summer, no more floods & more diverse, inclusive and educative green play areas. The children are co-maintaining the schoolyard with our Nature Heroes program.

More about the process in this article: Groen Kapitaal

ChallengeMany stakeholders have been involved in this process: Haarlem municipality, the neighborhood, parents of the school, teachers, and children. So many local experts with voices to hear! Several discussions happened during the process and we did our best to include all ideas and needs in consideration.
ProcessChildren were involved from the beginning of the process until the end:
1. They were part of the co-design phase, where they sketched their needs and ideas - They wanted more green!
2. They were part of the co-construct phase, where they helped take out tiles, painted tiles to transform them into small walls, and planted trees.
3. They are part of the co-maintenance phase, where some of them put on the Nature Hero cap and, take care of the plants and bushes in their schoolyard!

The construction was also divided into 4 phases, according to the different budgets received from the school.
ResultThe children, teachers, and the neighborhood are very happy with the result!
The place has many different vision lines, creating a sense of security from the outside of the square and the inside, a requirement from the neighborhood.
Challenge was added in the paths and walls where children can run, hide, and jump. These paths combined with reusing the play elements that children already loved!
Permeable ground was added where problematic flood areas would occur in the schoolyard. Thes school can be proud with around 35 % of greens in their schoolyard!