Miller Company has created green schoolyards at more than 20 elementary and middle schools in the San Francisco Unified School District. These natural outdoor learning environments transform not only the school grounds but the school communities as well.
We began our work with the SFUSD in 2006 at Sherman Elementary School. In a major feature at this site, we used Sierra granite boulders to create a riparian area with a hillside waterfall, the only one of its kind at a San Francisco schoolyard. The project also includes edible and native plant gardens, pollinator habitats, several outdoor classrooms, and a network of pathways.
In our continued work with the SFUSD, each green schoolyard is a unique environment shaped by the school’s setting and resources and the interests of the school community. These projects enhance each school’s educational facilities, connect children with the outdoors, and provide new chances for creative play.
At all our SFUSD projects, community involvement has been crucial in extending the small budgets and creating a sense of pride and stewardship. We use “barn-raising” strategies to involve community members in planting and other installation tasks. We have repeatedly seen our schoolyard projects transform school communities, creating a lasting sense of engagement.