Where to find a happy place

18th April 2008 at 01:00
Can you map the happiness in your school? Asking pupils to think about happiness and happy places not only improves their geography, but can lead to better schools, according to Fran Martin, from Exeter University, and Tessa Willy, from Roehampton University.

The academics want schools to take part in a project to draw maps of their happy places. Pupils discuss happiness with their teachers and then map places where they are happy, either in school, in the school grounds or further afield.

The scheme, aimed principally at primary schools, is designed to improve pupils' skills at geographical inquiry, mapping and - if they do a survey of another class and compare the results - data analysis. Findings will be published in Geographical Association journal Primary Geographer.

Dr Martin said: "The concept of place, space and location is not just about where places are. It is about the distribution within places of various factors and how that distribution makes differences to the way places are perceived.

"It may even lead to pupils looking at how to change places to make them more pupil-friendly through the school council. It also helps pupils realise that quality of life is about more than material things."

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