As you may be aware, we are currently introducing a different style of lunchtime playtime called OPAL.
OPAL stands for Outdoor Play and Learning and, as a school, we aim to improve the way we think and provide opportunities for play. We believe that play is essential for physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development. In a time where outdoor play environments and opportunities are on the decline, the school grounds provide a crucial place for children to experience self-initiated play.
Our school play aims are:
- To provide children with a play setting which is both stimulating and challenging.
- To allow children to take considered risks.
- To provide children with a range of environments which will support their learning across the curriculum and about the world around them.
Children spend up to 20% of their time in school at play. Therefore this time needs to be coherent and planned for. Changes in society such as heavier traffic, busier lifestyles, less areas for play and awareness of risk have led to reduced outdoor play opportunities for today’s children. This makes their play opportunities at school even more vital. Better play leads to happier children and in turn less behaviour problems, a more positive attitude to school, skills development, fewer accidents and more effective learning in the classroom as less staff time is spent resolving issues.
So far we have opened up some of the school grounds and introduced 6 areas for the children to enjoy:
- the gazebo is now used as a creative area where the children can write, draw, and colour using a variety of media
- we have a small world area where the children can use their imaginations to explore the world through small scale toys
- the yard is currently being used for traditional sport style activities such as football, running games, basketball etc
- we have a great mud kitchen area where the children can explore different types of textures such as mud, sand and wood chippings
- for those who prefer a quieter time, there is a reading area where they can just sit and relax with some books, cushions and cuddly toys
- and for those who prefer a more active playtime, we have opened a construction and den-building area where they can develop their creativity and problem-solving skills while learning to work as part of a team
- We are aware that when they children take part in some of these activities, they can get a little bit dirty (hence the appeal for wellies to be brought in!) and we really have appreciated your patience and lack of complaints as we try to get things up and running! However, to improve matters in this area, we have recently purchased a range of waterproof trousers and jackets which we will be encouraging the children to take responsibility for wearing if they are involved in the messier activities.
I would also like to say a huge thank you to all those people (parents and children) who have contributed so many amazing items to help us get started on our OPAL journey, it has been absolutely crucial to our being able to set things up so quickly and is truly appreciated.
For those who would like to contribute items but haven’t a clue what would be useful, we will be having a non-uniform day in April where, instead of the usual 50p, we will ask children to bring in an item that could be used for OPAL. Don’t worry, most of these items are usually just things you would be throwing away anyway, and we’ll send a list of suggestions/ideas for contributions to give you an idea.
For further information please view or download the School Play Policy which you can find in the school policies section of our website.
OPAL Meeting Information
We have regular meeting to discuss ways we can improve our Out door play. You can view or download our OPAL Meeting Information on our website.