PhD student

Janke Wesselius

PhD student

Phone: +31 20 59 83439
Room: 1b-33

Personal webpage

PhD project 2013-2017: How Children can benefit from learning and playing at green playgrounds

My PhD project focuses on how children can benefit in their health and development from learning and playing on a green playground. The project consists of two parts. In the first part the effects of greening school playgrounds on the development of children are investigated using a prospective intervention study with a two years follow up. In the second part collaborative action research methods are being used to get insight in what expertise and skills teachers (in training) need to incorporate the green playground in their educational system.



In my PhD project I focus on understanding how a green playground influences the health and development of children. It is a practice oriented study in which I work with and for children, teachers and professionals in the field. In the project, I collaborate on an intense level with researchers and practitioners. With this approach, I hope to contribute to the development of opportunities for children to benefit in their health and development from the positive influence of nature. I hold a Master’s (2013, Cum laude) degree in applied social psychology from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. I graduated on a research project together with prof.dr. A.E. van den Berg which investigated how nature can be a supportive environment for therapies, set up in a virtual reality setting.


Research interests

Besides my keen interest in the influence of green schoolyards on children, I would also like to contribute to understanding the importance of nature for human health and well-being. As I see it, contact with nature can be a resource for solving health-related and societal problems. In my work I’m driven by an ambition to develop and test theories on a national and international level considering the health effects of nature. My goal is to stimulate the application of these theories in practice, to make the health benefits of nature accessible for all members of society.




More information on the green playground project (in Dutch)

Report on the green playground project (in Dutch): De ‘leer’kracht van schoolpleinen: Hoe leerlingen uit groep 4, 5 en 6 het schoolplein ervaren, gebruiken en waarderen

Brochure (in Dutch) with results from research on green space as a supportive environment for therapy: Onderzoek naar ontstressen in virtuele natuur