Green Playground

An educational playground model, combining playfulness and streamlined education

Case Study - Vietnam


The ACES playground (Green Playground) is constructed in Nguyen Tat Thanh School – Hoa Binh Education College, *Hoa Binh, a mountainous province in the North of Vietnam. It is part of ACES Vietnam’s Playful School model which features the use of Participatory Action Research and promotes the Playground as a pedagogical approach.

The Green Playground is an educational playground model that combines playfulness and streamlined education, which is different from normal physical playgrounds. It consists of four sections: (i) Physical space; (ii) Recycling space; (iii) Muong House and traditional games; and (iv) a Muong-and-local-herb garden.

This case study involves and mobilises resources from a wide range of stakeholders:

  • ACES Vietnam Team: ACES model including Playful Learning and Frugal Education
  • Anchor institution: Hanoi University of Science and Technology
  • Local partners: Hoa Binh Department of Education and Training, Nguyen Tat Thanh School & Hoa Binh Education College
  • Students from K1-K9, teachers
  • Community Actors/Sponsors: a group of Muong teachers, a French sponsor and parents
  • LBUM: an NGO design and construction group

*Hoa Binh is a mountainous province of Vietnam, located in the nation’s Northwest region. The province covers an area of 4590.57 square kilometres and as of 2019 has a population of 854,131 people. In 2020, the GDP per capita of the province was estimated to be $2,625 (equivalent to 60.5 million VND).

Target Audience

The project involved approximately 500 participants: 450 students and 55 teachers at Nguyen Tat Thanh School. In addition, it targeted a wider community of indirect beneficiaries, including 505 students and 86 teacher educators of Hoa Binh Education College, each school child’s family and young children in the neighbourhood. The Green Playground is also a model educational space for other schools/institutions in Hoa Binh Province, where all other related training and extra-curricular activities take place.

Nguyen Tat Thanh

Hoa Binh City

Aims & Objectives

The Green Playground can serve multiple purposes regarding students’ well-being, environment protection, playful learning and frugal education, cultural awareness and promotion, etc. These also align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 3 – Good health and well-being; SDG 4 – Quality education; and  SDG 5 – Gender equality.

This project aims to provide both students and teachers with a Playful and Frugal learning space as a hybrid pedagogical approach, responding to the curriculum transformation via a series of training workshops and experiential learning. Participants are involved in the co-design of activities, facilitation and evaluation of the Green Playground in teaching the Muong language, the Local Education subjects, STEM, and other subjects in the curriculum.

Examples from the toolkit of activities include:

  • Designing an ideal playground (Poster) and Squid Games (frugal education: using Lego to construct the playground);
  • Decorating tyres (Muong cultural patterns);
  • Collecting recyclable materials;
  • Discovering traditional games and Muong culture;
  • Describing the playground;
  • Promoting Green playground (Poster);
  • Using recycled materials to create a mini Babylon flower garden;
  • Playground activities and Muong lessons.


The case study has been active since April 2021 and is set to complete by June 2022. It consists of 4 major phases:

  • Needs analysis and preparation for the Playground;
  • Co-design and co-construct both the Playground and playful/frugal activities;
  • Grand opening of the Green Playground and toolkits of playful/frugal activities;
  • The Green Playground as a pedagogical approach.

ACES Vietnam

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Nguyen Tat Thanh

Hoa Binh City