How gardening at school can tackle child obesity

Matluba Khan, Cardiff University

Childhood obesity is a major public health concern in the UK. Surveys conducted in 2017 and 2018 showed that 28% of children aged from two to 15 in England were overweight or obese. Overweight and obese children have a greater chance of staying obese as adults. They are at risk of developing diseases in adulthood such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and osteoarthritis.

This rise in obesity has been fuelled by poor diet and a decline in physical activity. Only 41% 11 year olds in Europe and Canada have vegetables in their daily meals, while only 24% participate in at least an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity (such as brisk walking or running) daily.

Tackling this problem early in childhood is important to develop lifelong healthy behaviour. One potential solution is integrating vegetable gardening into the school curriculum. This strategy both addresses low activity levels and models healthy eating.

Getting children gardening

In 2018, Dr Ruth Bell and I worked to design and study a school gardening project in a London primary school. We carried out this project together with the Conservation Volunteers, a community volunteering charity working towards creating healthier communities, and Meat Free Monday, a not-for-profit campaign which aims to raise awareness of the impact of animal agriculture and industrial fishing on the environment and encourage eating plant-based meals.

Children at the primary school participated in regular gardening sessions, for two hours each week over a whole academic year. They also took part in educational sessions on the environmental and health benefits of plant-based meals, and were encouraged to taste and try new vegetables.

The gardening activities were designed around children’s own suggestions: they drew plans for developing the school grounds and created nature maps showing their ideas for the location of the garden and other features to encourage wildlife.

In the winter, the children prepared raised beds for growing spring crops – weeding, covering and refilling them with leaf mulch. They sowed seeds and took care of their grounds and the garden.

Measuring results

In order to assess the impact on the children, we compared the gardeners against a control group. For half a year, 30 children in one class continued their regular indoor school sessions – the control group – while 30 from another class took part in the gardening activities. In the second half of the year, the control group were also given the opportunity to get involved in the gardening.

We asked all 60 children to wear GENEActiv accelerometers for seven consecutive days to record their different activity levels. They also responded to a questionnaire that asked them about what they think of fruit and vegetables and how much of them they eat.

We found that children who participated in the regular gardening sessions spent less time sitting than their peers who had their classes indoors. The children attending the gardening sessions were also more active, taking part in more moderate to vigorous intensity exercise than their peers in the other class. In discussion with us, children mentioned growing muscles as they engaged in different kinds of gardening activities.

Although it was winter, that did not matter much to the children. They were eager to spend more time outdoors as they enjoyed gardening activities in the school grounds.

Increased knowledge

While our statistics did not show any increase in consumption of vegetables from the children who worked in the garden, the children told us that they knew more about plants, nutrition and the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. Many children said that they were keen on trying new vegetables, and some of them said that they now ate vegetables that they would have previously transferred to their mum’s plate.

In winter, the children spent a lot of time on preparing the garden for spring crop growing and did not have the chance to taste the produce from the garden. Some of them thought they would have eaten more veggies if they could work in their gardens all year round, and could plant, harvest and taste their own garden grown veggies.

Teachers found that children who had not been performing well in the class found themselves doing better in the outdoor sessions, which then transferred to their regular school sessions. One student who was particularly struggling in the classroom showed leadership abilities and subsequently signed up to join the Scouts. Children with learning difficulties were also more engaged in the gardening sessions.

The children told us that they thought nature can bring people together and make people kinder and better. One of them mentioned having an argument with a friend in the classroom but making up during the gardening sessions. The children also expressed their frustrations with their school lunch options, and that they would have preferred more vegetarian or vegan options and variety in vegetarian recipes.

Integrating gardening sessions with the curriculum can inspire teachers to take classes outdoors. Wide-scale implementation could improve children’s health in the longer term and tackle the obesity pandemic.

Matluba Khan, Lecturer in Urban Design, Cardiff University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

I redesigned a school playground for my PhD – and the children got better marks learning outside

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the education of at least 1.5 billion school students. That’s more than 90% of the world’s children. Although many schools in the west, along with private schools in the developing world, have continued some school activities online, more than 50% of learners worldwide do not have a household computer. The absence of face-to-face learning and opportunities for playing with friends will have hugely impacted child mental health.

Countries are taking different approaches as to when, where and how to reopen schools, and some places are emphasising the benefits of outdoor learning.

Research has shown that an outdoor environment can improve children’s motivation and well-being, and can contribute to increasing children’s physical activity and learning outcomes. Learning in nature has been shown to reduce stress and boost mental well-being.

Outdoor learning was traditionally practised in countries across the African and Asian continents, but is increasingly valued less. In many cases, it is only perceived as an option when there is no functioning classroom. But now, more than ever, the benefits of outdoor learning must be capitalised on all over the world.


I have been researching outdoor learning environments for more than 10 years. While most research in this area is concentrated in western countries, my own has focused on Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh the net enrolment rate at primary schools is nearly 100%, but only 32% of the children reach higher secondary level (typically completed at ages 16-18). There are many reasons for this high dropout rate, including poverty and child marriage.

But one reason that is rarely considered is the quality of the learning environment. Evidence shows many students drop out because they do not feel attracted to school and did not like the traditional teaching and learning environment.

Teaching and learning outdoors has been core to the education system in the Indian subcontinent and was practised widely before the education system was formalised. It is still being practised in the town of Shantiniketan, India, established by the Nobel Laureate poet and philanthropist Rabindranath Tagore. But the idea is not mainstream and the political, physical and social infrastructure to support its wider implementation is absent.

I looked into whether learning in an outdoor environment can improve children’s academic attainment, motivation and play in a Bangladeshi primary school as part of my PhD. School grounds in Bangladesh are largely barren fields without any features. Clearly this needed to change if outdoor learning was to be encouraged. The school I worked with was a primary school 80 kilometre from the capital city Dhaka.

The original schoolground. © Matluba Khan, Author provided

I wanted the children’s input for the redesign. I asked Grade IV children (eight- to 12-year-olds) what they would like to have in their playground for both learning and play. The children drew pictures and shared their thoughts. I brainstormed with teachers separately and asked what they would need in the outdoor learning environment in order to take curricular teaching and learning outdoors.

Then we all participated in a model making workshop, led by the children. I supplied materials based on the drawings made by children and suggestions offered by teachers. We have presented the model to the local community who came forward to help us with whatever resources they could offer.

The model. © Matluba Khan, Author provided

A new classroom

The children wanted places to explore and experiment, to play and learn together, to challenge them physically and intellectually, to make things and be creative, to connect with nature, to be alone and to reflect. Studies with children from different parts of the world have yielded similar results, showing these preferences are universal.

Teachers, meanwhile, told me that nature can offer opportunities to try out science. They wanted different types of vegetation and a garden in the schoolyard. They requested an area with different loose materials such as twigs, branches, seeds and egg crates to help them demonstrate number theories and other mathematical problems. They also asked for some group learning settings for group activities and an outdoor classroom.

All of these preferences were then taken into account when the Bangladeshi architect, Fuad Abdul Quaium, and myself designed the school ground. We hired local masons and used low-cost materials and technology. The children designed a mural. The school ground was ready for use in January 2015. The teachers led children outdoors regularly for their maths and science lessons.

The mural. © Matluba Khan, Author provided

My research showed that the children’s attainment in maths and science improved after teaching and learning outdoors. The Grade IV children performed significantly better in maths and science compared to a comparable school which had had no change in the environment.

Hands-on learning outdoors made learning fun and engaging for everyone, but particularly benefited underachievers. We found that children who didn’t interact much in the classroom setting were more pro-active and participated more in their outdoor sessions.

The new schoolground. © Matluba Khan, Author provided

An outdoor future

Outdoor classrooms can also provide the space to maintain social distancing while learning. But the school ground should be designed in a way to support teaching and learning, and teachers need training in use of their school ground and surroundings for teaching.

My research strengthens the already existing evidence on benefits of outdoor learning. The study also generates new evidence for its use outside western countries, suggesting outdoor learning has the potential to improve the quality of education all over the world.

Matluba Khan, Lecturer in Urban Design, Cardiff University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

My thoughts after attending Mobility, Mood and Place Conference


Last week I had the privilege to attend the 4th conference of Open Space People Space Series on Mobility, Mood and Place while helping in the organisation. This was an amazing opportunity to interact with the leading researchers in this field and learn contemporary research on Healthy, happy and active ageing, Co-designing the built environment with mobility in mind, Experiencing mobility and Health, mobility and place through the life-course across the globe.

The keynote, plenary and the parallel sessions I attended enriched my knowledge of the research on older people’s health and well-being as well as created an impact on my thoughts on the issue. I am intrigued to explore the issue of health and well-being, and at the same time I wonder how our research can have a true impact on people’s life in real.

At this point of researching on open space, I wonder whether we are creating and/or in confusion about what we mean by ‘green space’, ‘open space’, ‘natural environment’, and now ‘blue space’. I was really moved in an Outdoor Learning Conference when a delegate spoke about how ‘nature’ is a construct of ourselves. ‘Natural environment’ or ‘nature’ is something we put in contrast of ‘man-made’ or ‘built’, however, natural environment is something men design and therefore, a part of the built environment. The contributions of open space/green space to people’s health and well-being are now widely recognised, however, what is it’s implications? Are we working on creating more and more evidence on the benefits of green spaces/blue spaces which don’t provide enough guidelines for implementation in built-environment design?


Fig: My colleague Ziwen presenting his PhD research on walkability in the conference

The discussion on the gap between academia and practice is something common at every conference. We are discussing on how we can reduce the gap between academia and practice for years, yet it still seems we are not even close to that. I know some Scandinavian countries have been successful in integrating academia and practice in the design and the development of the built environment. In some countries, industries now a days appoint researchers for evaluation of the designed built environments. What I very much appreciated in mobility, mood and place conference was the diversity of presenters in each parallel session. Delegates from academia and practice were presenting at the same session on a certain theme, therefore, complementing each others’ works.

In order to address the gap between academia and practice, in the Young Researchers’ Workshop (as part of IAPS conference 2016) a group of researchers suggested the need of a group of professionals who would work to connect researchers and practitioners. However, rather than injecting middlemen, I do think researchers need to take risk and go beyond their comfort levels adopting experimental action research strategies and practitioners should step in the field of research. If that’s too ambitious, I wonder if the practitioners and researchers could have worked at the same project as a package, that could create much stronger evidence feeding the new design and also redesign of the existing environments.


Fig: Delegates during a session

I was struck by one question during one plenary session. What evidences we are showing in 2016 in order to create a healthy and active city are same what Jane Jacobs said in her “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” 50 years back. We should ask what held us back implementing these evidences. I am sorry I could not concentrate on what Professor Billie Giles-Corti responded to that question, but I was looking for opportunities for a discussion with Billie on that.

Professor Gloria Gutman’s powerful words in her keynote were thought-provoking. While I totally agree with ‘there is no such design called universal design’ and ‘one size does not fit all’ but I am also aware that we all live in the same built-environment. It’s a challenge how we can make that environment livable and accessible for all – elderly people, people with visual environment, pregnant women, children and young people and also women who would prefer to walk in heals. Therefore, one thing that worries me much is whether in order to narrow down our focus in research, we are creating too many categorisations. Would not age-friendly cities also be child-friendly? In the process of creating and co-designing age-friendly cities, are we sometimes too focused on people of only one age group and therefore, not taking other age-groups’ needs into account?

“Our cities are growing and greying” – What a powerful quote from Professor Gloria Gutman. This made me think about completely different but related topic. How the geographies differ from one country to another, one continent to other! On the other hand, how similar the new cities across the globe look like. If the geographies are different, the built environment ought to be different. For a sustainable living environment and life style we not only need to reduce the gap between academia and practice but also between different disciplines. Mobility, Mood and Place Research project worked with people from different disciplines and the conference brought people from different background on the same platform. I hope the spirits of the conference would also be reflected in our everyday works in academia and practice, we will contribute to reduce the gaps bit by bit on every single day.


Fig: Conference dinner in the magnificent Playfair Library

Environment, Engagement and Education

Investigating the relationship between primary school grounds and children’s learning: A case study from Bangladesh


This study investigated the potential of a primary school ground to be an effective learning environment and explored how the design of an outdoor environment can contribute to children’s learning. The study was conducted as part of the PhD research supported by the Principal Career Development Scholarship, Global Research Fellowship, Presidents Fund and Charles Wallace Bangladesh Trust.

More than 59 million children are out of schools across the globe (UNESCO Institute for Statistics & UNICEF, 2015), despite the promise of education for all children by the year 2015. The situation is more pronounced in developing countries particularly in Africa and South Asia. Strategies adopted globally to attract children towards schools rarely considered improving the existing physical environments, despite evidence that primary school-aged children (5 to 12 years) learn more effectively when their education is incorporated with surrounding environments (Khan & Islam, 2014; Lieberman & Hoody, 1998; Mygind, 2009).

This interdisciplinary project is underpinned by classic psychological theories of child development (e.g. Piaget 1964 and Vygotsky et al. 1978), while Gibson’s (1979) ‘Concept of Affordance’ and Barker’s (1976) ‘Theory of Behaviour Settings’ have provided the framework for exploring the relationship between the school ground and children’s learning.


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A quasi-experimental action research project was carried out in a Government primary school in Bangladesh, which included the design and development of the school ground, with the direct participation of children, teachers and parents. Another primary school (with no change to the outdoor environment) was used as a control school to compare the outcomes. A mixed methods approach to conducting this quasi-experiment included data from existing exam scores, questionnaire survey, observation and behaviour mapping, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews.


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The key findings from this study indicate an overall positive influence of the designed outdoor environment on children’s academic performance and their motivation to learn. An increase in children’s cognitive, social and physical activities in the school ground is also evidenced by the study. The analysis of the data likewise reveals that different behaviour settings of the school ground offered opportunities for different teaching and learning activities. Both natural settings and settings with built features afforded more focused activities (e.g. the gardens afforded exploration and connection with nature, while the play area afforded more functional play). Additionally, settings comprised of both natural and built elements (e.g. the area with loose materials and huts) and areas in close proximity with natural ones (i.e. the open yard) accommodated diverse and multiple teaching and learning activities (e.g. measuring, building/constructing and exploring). The findings further suggest that the design and use of the school ground had a surprising and unintended positive effect on teachers’ motivation and pedagogy. Through reflecting on the use of different landscape elements and settings in the school ground during formal outdoor classes and informal play times, the study has further come to propose some design recommendations for other new school grounds as well as the redesign of existing ones.



Barker, R. G. (1976). On the Nature of the Environment. In H. M. Proshansky, W. H. Ittelson, & R. G. Rivlin (Eds.), Environmental psychology : people and their physical settings (pp. 12–26). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Gibson, J. J. (1979). The ecological approach to visual perception / James J. Gibson. Boston : Houghton Mifflin.

Khan, M., & Islam, Z. (2014). Outdoor as Learning Environment for Children at a Primary School of Bangladesh. In 45th Annual Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association (pp. 112–119). Environmental Design Research Association.

Lieberman, G. A., & Hoody, L. L. (1998). Closing the Achievement Gap: Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning. Results of a Nationwide Study.

Mygind, E. (2009). A comparison of children’s statements about social relations and teaching in the classroom and in the outdoor environment. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 9(2), 151–169. doi:10.1080/14729670902860809

Piaget, J. (1964). Development and Learning. In R. E. Ripple & V. N. Rockcastle (Eds.), Piaget rediscovered (pp. 7–20). Cornell University.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics, & UNICEF. (2015). Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All.

Vygotsky, L. S., Cole, M., John-Steiner, V., Scribner, S., & Souberman, E. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Be brave! Share your research! Explorathon Researchers’ Night 2016


Chatting during PhD in an hour session at Explorathon 2014, Photo: Beltane Public Engagement Network

Post graduate researchers are always in short of time. Three years is a very short time but PhD students always have more on their dishes. This often can keep them away from going in public, take the courage to share their research. Many of us might think that we need to focus only on our research, therefore, not become interested in sharing research to lay audience or researchers working in different disciplines. But as a PhD researcher, I have benefited a lot from such events, talking in terms of a non-expert lay audience can give clarity to out thoughts, make us think in a way which we are unable to do being so closely attached to our own research.

I shared my research in PhD in an hour event in the first explorathon extravaganza in 2014. I talked about what I wanted to do and how I am going to do this for an hour in an informal setting, sitting in Hemma bar. I always enjoy sharing my research, the questions I am asked during such occasions help me making my arguments clear not only to the audience but also to myself. Sometimes we need to look at our research from other people’s viewpoints which can show us points that we might not find being too close to our research.


Table set for fun research activities on 30 September 2016 on the eve of Explorathon Researchers’ Night

I have finished my field work, analysed the data and now working on my 2nd draft. Now it’s time to share some of the findings with researchers from related disciplines,  lay audience, policy makers and designers. While presenting in conferences can take our research to other researchers, sharing research in a fun way in organised events like Explorathon Researchers’ Night can take our research to people inside and outside academia. I explored sharing my research in a fun way asking the participants to design a school ground that can accommodate children’s formal teaching in the Curiosity Forest. While the participants were discussing in groups what they can provide to teach force, motion and speed I used the opportunity to share what I found from my PhD research.

“I had a PhD bachelor years back from the University. However, the things I remember still are the ones we have learnt through hands on activities.”- one participant shared while making a pyramid using modelling clay which can be used to teach structure to children. One school teacher joined us and brainstormed what can be there in the school ground to teach children History. Her realisation was they should use the outdoors more, the message I wanted to give through all these fun activities.

Children can make forts with crates and recreate battles to learn history – A school teacher while designing school ground

I also shared the research with children and family as part of Fun Palaces Scotland . Kids enjoyed making tiny pool, merry go round, slides, climbing frames and trees, their parents became interested in the poster presenting the findings from the research. I have to agree that I could not attract policy makers and educationalists to the event which was completely my fault. I was so overwhelmed with the thesis writing and few other deadlines that I could not manage time to contact people beforehand. I regret that. Therefore I do have some suggestions for new and present PhD students of all years on how they can best use the opportunity for their own benefit.

  1. PhD, 1st year – You can share your research plans, what you want to do and how you are planning to do. You can use the feedback to develop your instruments, rethink the methods and moreover and learn from other presenters. Try to make the event short and interactive, a poster or display of your works can helpful to attract people’s attention.
  2. PhD, 2nd year – You might have finished your data collection and some bits of your analysis. Planning the fun event can give clarity to your analysis process if you can utilise the opportunity properly.
  3. PhD, 3rd year- Its time to share some of your findings. All the discussions can contribute to writing your discussion and results chapter.

Children and parents co-designing school grounds using different materials

But the success of all these depends on audience. Don’t hesitate to invite people, invite all people of your acquaintance. This is an opportunity to tell your friends, colleagues and acquaintances what you are working on in a legible and fun way. Invite the policy makers you want to reach for the fun weekend event. Plan earlier, share some glimpses of your plans with the people you are inviting. Write that email as soon as you can, people have plans, let them have time to accommodate your event in their calendar, also don’t forget to send some reminders!


Handle with care! 🙂

Festival of Creative Learning – The process: Part 1

The experience with Innovative Learning Week team to organize an event was enlightening. We hope to continue this endevour in the Festival of Creative Learning.

We have been working with Snook to evolve Innovative Learning Week (ILW) into a Festival of Creative Learning. So far we have created a blueprint of the journey of the new festival, interviewed people involved with ILW 2016 (#ILW16) and had a design workshop with more key stakeholders from around the university to hear their thoughts and input about the best way forward with the festival.

As the week in February (previously inhabited by ILW) will be available for creative and innovative events in 2017, we started by considering what needs to be done in preparation for this as well as potential new features of the festival throughout the year.

DSC_4698 Blueprinting at Snook’s offices.

Producing a blueprint is a really useful tool for a big project like this, particularly when you want to evolve and build on the best of what has already been done. Read more about how it works…

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Successful completion of the Workshop entitled ‘The role of School building and outdoor environment on children’s learning’

We were supposed to hold this workshop in the beginning of February. Due to some unavoidable reasons we had to postpone it but we are really happy to inform you all that the workshop was held last saturday, 14 March 2015 at Raipura PTI, Narsingdi. Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology was a partner in this effort. The purpose was to disseminate the knowledge we have gathered through the process of our research on children’s environment. We talked about the school environment as a whole with an emphasis on the outdoor environment of primary schools. I have worked with Tulatoli Government Primary School very closely for the last few months. During this period I have shared my views and opinions with the teachers and also come to know about many things in close interaction with the teachers for hours.

While I was in Edinburgh me and Dr Simon Bell thought about organizing a workshop so that we can include the design ideas from diverse group of teachers for the development of the school ground. During my visit to the USA to attend the prestigious EDRA conference where I met Dr Mohammed Zakiul Islam and found out that Zaki sir is also thinking about such a workshop. We discussed about arranging this workshop over email and skype several times after going back to Edinburgh. Zaki sir has been working on arranging this since he was back from USA to Bangladesh.

After coming back to Bangladesh for field survey we again met and talked about this. Due to the shortage of time mainly I could not arrange it before the development work started in Tulatoli Primary School. But later on we have thought of arranging a workshop where the teachers will be engaged in more rigorous session about how they can use the school ground for teaching. The principal purpose was to build the confidence in the teachers about teaching in the school ground. The workshop would have been difficult to arrange without the unconditional support from Dr M Zakiul Islam. Professor Robin Moore, a pioneer researcher in this field  has kindly given his consent to contribute in the workshop by sending a video and presentations. Dr Eva Silveirinha de Oliveira and Dr Sarah McGeown from the University of Edinburgh have also contributed in the workshop with great enthusiasm. Ahammad-al-muhaymin, lecturer, Department of Architecture and Muntazar Monsur, Post Doctoral Research Fellow from North Carolina State University graced the workshop with their wonderful talks respectively on the use of local materials in school architecture and the role of indoor-outdoor interface in children’s learning. Kashfia Alam Khan, working voluntarily as a research assistant and Abdullah Al Shafi Khan, a volunteer research support staff for the project made sure of the logistics support for the workshop.

At long last when the workshop is finally arranged it focused on letting the participants know about the importance of school’s physical environment, how local materials can be used for the development of the school environment and how the school ground can be designed and developed to teach different curriculum content to children. The participants were also led to the newly developed Tulatoli Government Primary School for a practical experience of a designed school ground for learning. The participant teachers really enjoyed this part of the workshop about which most of them opined as the most interesting part of the workshop. They also liked other sessions. They enjoyed the practical session where they made the layout of a school in groups of five members where anyone of the group members teaches and did brainstorm about how the school ground can be developed relating to different curriculum contents. They evaluated the workshop in a four point likert scale. They also evaluated the design of the school ground with respect to teaching and learning and also filled up the questionnaire about children’s motivation and attitude towards learning in the indoors and outdoors.

Due to time and funding constraints only one school has been developed this time. But the workshop tried to guide the teachers how they can easily develop the school ground with minimal changes at lower costs using locally available materials. They have also been given directions how they can organize their classes for a workout in the outdoors.

Here are some pictures of the workshop-

Dr Mohammed Zakiul Islam delivering his talk

First session on importance of school outdoor on children’s learning

Ahammad-al-muhaymin delivering his talk

During the field trip at Tulatoli Primary School (Photo Credit: unknown)

Explaining different behaviour settings of the school ground (Photo credit: Kashfia Alam Khan)

Practical session

Practical session: making layout plans

Working closely on one school ground in groups

Presentation of the school layout by the participants

Presentation of the school layout by the participants

Certificate Giving Ceremony

Group Photo at the end

All the photos except the mentioned ones in the brackets are credited to Abdullah Al Shafi Khan.

The Story of An Outdoor Classroom

Alochonaa (Dialogue)

 Matluba Khan*

Edinburgh, May 17, 2014 (Alochonaa): While much attention was paid to the design and construction of school buildings, little notice has been paid to the design of immediate surroundings of the building i.e. the school ground. The outdoor environment, the last considered aspect of the school design often remains as the left over space after the construction of the building. Historically the potentials of the outdoor environment have been undermined using it as only the ground for physical training or physical education. This trend is universal around the world.

For example, in Australia, large open spaces dedicated to physical activities do not have a proportional number of users and intensity of use in relation to the distribution of children (Malone and Tranter, August 2003). The worst case scenario is the conversion of residences in the city of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh to nurseries and primary schools…

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Visiting New Orleans: Work, Food and Fun

Go Abroad Fund

I was awarded to present my paper titled ‘Outdoor as learning environment for children at a primary school of Bangladesh’ in the 45th Annual Conference of Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA). The conference was held from 28-31 May at New Orleans, Louisiana in the USA. Conferences combining landscape architecture and children’s development is not very common and this conference was an ideal one in the field I have been working.

There was excitement about the opportunity to attend the conference yet I was tensed because of all the arrangements I have to make before I set out. Applying for visa was the first step and also the most hectic one as I had to travel to London to face the interview. Besides booking the flight I had to arrange the accommodation beforehand. I shared a room with three other conference delegates in the same hotel where the conference took…

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Every moment I think I have to make my father more proud and happier with my works and every moment I forget what to do, just start blaming him for leaving me behind while he flew to a world of more serenity and divinity. Being his daughter abides me with more precious responsibilities to make his dream fulfilled, to work for the children of my country, to do something that can contribute to their quality education, being grown up as a pure soul, better person and better citizen of the country….

Continually I am trying to boost me up with all the words I believe in, my father believed… Yeah, Its one year today and I just don’t know how this year passed, how I passed one year without hugging him, without listening his voice…Does he know how many stories are in my heart waiting to be uttered to him?…

He is with me all the time.. he lives in me all the time.. why there is still the vast emptiness? Why I want to touch him, want to see his sparkling eyes, want to be hugged…

I am so selfish, just think about myself, just think about my father but dont think about the people of my hometown who respect my father so much, who are in need of a mentor, a teacher who guides the children and also the teachers, a person who is a friend of everybody who is in need… How can I forget the respect and love for my dad that I saw in the eyes of hundreds of children waiting to take part in the namaze janaja of their beloved and respected teacher, the sorrow in the eyes of the parents – who will tell their children that English is such a nice language, no need to be afraid of….

Not only them but thousands of children of Bangladesh are in need of good teachers, enhanced learning environment, a better curriculum…How can I forget my duty and pass my time weeping all the time?… Yeah I need to be strong.. I need to concentrate on my work..on this very day I am taking oath- “Bazan, your daughter will make you more proud! Be with me! Be with me all the time!”Image