OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning)
Play is fundamental to a child’s health, happiness, development and well-being. Research has shown that children spend 20% of their time in school playing.
The OPAL vision is that “every child in every school has an amazing hour of high quality play every day” and as a school we share this vision and recognise the enormous benefits play has on a child’s life.
The OPAL rationale is:
“…better, more active and creative playtimes can mean happier and healthier children, and having happier, healthier, more active children usually results in a more positive attitude to learning in school, with more effective classroom lessons, less staff time spent resolving unnecessary behavioral problems, fewer playtime accidents, happier staff and a healthier attitude to life”.
This rationale is something we have applied to help us develop our school OPAL approach a to improve our play provision. Our school grounds are impressive with four play yards, a MUGA, a large field as well as other grassy areas, two timber trails, large areas of trees and plants, a pond and a firepit. Traditionally some of these spaces have been underused, however, through our OPAL project our school site is being transformed to offer the highest quality play experiences, whatever the weather.
The school site has been divided into zones, each zone has a specific focus. Children have the freedom to explore and play in their own imaginative ways, experimenting, problem solving and having fun using a wide range of available resources which are very different in each zone. Our outdoor areas are continually being developed and offer an even wider range of play opportunities.
Currently we have launched Phase one of our journey which includes:
· A wheel zone
· A creative zone
· A loose part zone (ks1 and ks2)
· A ball zone
· A small world zone
· A chill zone
We aim to keep improving the zones and equipment as our OPAL journey continues. Check the school dojo page, Facebook or twitter (@OPALnsp) for latest developments.