OPAL – Outdoor Play and Learning
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Children spend 20% of their time at school playing. With this in mind we have engaged with the OPAL Primary Programme (Outside Play and Learning) to support us in promoting freedom for children to explore play in their own imaginative ways, using found and gathered resources in the natural outdoor environment.
We are lucky to have such a great area for our children to play in but this is significantly underused, particularly in the winter /spring months when the fields become inaccessible due to them being wet, and due to the fact that a lot of the play is orientated around sport, due to the resources on offer, rather than creative play.
Following a term of planning and carrying out building work we introduced the first phase of OPAL to our children in January 2016.
We have now completed our first half term of OPAL play. It has been a great success – more children are loving being outside, no matter what the weather, as there is now so much more to do.
Whether it is playing with tyres and planks, digging in the sand pit, enjoying imaginative play in the small world area or exploring the wigwams, OPAL is offering a creative and exciting alternative to the regular activities on the yard.
In addition to the areas already being used, over the next half term we will be adding a digging area and mud kitchen for the children in the upper school and for the lower school children a covered sand pit.
Wellies are being well managed by the upper school children are we are going to advise parents of lower school children as to how we will manage this in the coming weeks.
Through this kind of play not only are children more active at lunchtime they are also having the opportunity to further develop life skills such as cooperation, team work and problem solving. They are becoming motivated and enthusiastic builders, engineers, explorers and designers.
Thank you for your support with:-
- Sending your child into school with appropriate warm/waterproof clothing and wellies
- Donating to school small world creatures, cars, pots and pans etc. for the creative play
- Supporting the OPAL ethos by asking your child about their play and accepting that they may get dirty… Some parents have been sending in spare clothes with their child for lunchtimes – please feel free to do this.
Special thanks go to Ross’s Dad and Siobhan’s Dad for providing us with tyres and Sophie’s Dad for the wooden coins.
You can still help us more by donating any unwanted materials you have at home such as:-
- Plastic or metal buckets
- Kitchen utensils, pots, pans, baking trays, sieves, colanders etc for the mud kitchen
- Watering cans, wheel barrows, guttering
- Large pieces for fabric
- Toy trucks, diggers, cars
- Small world creatures e.g. dinosaurs, farm animals etc.
Thank you for your continued support. Take a look at these photos to get an idea as to just how much fun the children do have.
To check out the OPAL philosophy go to http://www.outdoorplayandlearning.org.uk