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InnoRenew CoE researchers presented external school space conceptual design to Slovenia’s State Secretary for Education and Sport

Today, 19 October 2021, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia visited the Obalno-kraška statistical region. Among the day’s planned events and activities was a visit from Mr. Marjan Dolinšek, State Secretary for Education and Sport, to the primary school in Livade, Izola.

Eva Prelovšek Niemelä and Vesna Starman, InnoRenew CoE researchers, took part in the event to present their conceptual design of the school’s external spaces to the State Secretary and other delegation representatives, representatives from the Municipality of Izola and the school’s leadership.

Exploring the applicability of wood has led these researchers to discoveries about the material’s positive impact on children’s emotional, behavioral and intellectual development.

Eva Prelovšek Niemelä and Vesna Starman presented the conceptual design of the external school spaces. Image: Lea Primožič

“On the basis of these discoveries, studies from abroad and experience in the field of social pedagogy, we have developed a thematic path model consisting of wooden playground equipment,” Eva Prelovšek Niemelä said.

InnoRenew CoE experts from various fields participated in the preparation of the project, and this interdisciplinary collaboration led to an innovative solution in the schoolyard that allows for children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development through play.

Secretary Dolinšek was happy to hear about this project as he is sure the many benefits of nature are too often forgotten.

“With this project, you pleasantly surprised me, and I am sure this classroom at the open air will bring many benefits, especially for our children,” he said.

Marjan Dolinšek, State Secretary for Education and Sport. Image: Lea Primožič

The basic elements of the thematic path include “risky games”, motion development equipment, balancing actuators, sensory pathways, observation areas, tunnels, mazes, applicable fencing, floor games, school vegetable and fruit gardens with hotels for insects, outdoor classrooms, weather stations, atmospheric gases and outdoor wooden parts as well as the ability to mentor pupils’ research by established scientists in the fields of ecology, biology, forestry and natural materials.