We are very excited to be undertaking our playground development project with the support from an organisation called OPAL which stands for ‘outdoor play and learning’. This is a strategic improvement programme designed to help us improve opportunities for play and make sure our outdoor environment provides the best range of experiences for the children.
This means that soon our playtimes will be getting even more fun and we hope every child will love them.
Did you know that playtime is about 20% of every child’s day at school? It is also, for many children, one of the few times that they have to play outside regularly with their friends and without devices.
The Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) Primary Programme is the result of over 20 years of testing and development in over 800 schools across the UK and internationally.
OPAL is based on the idea that, as well as learning through good teaching, your children also learn when they play. As 20% of their time in school is playtime, we want to make sure that this amount of time (equivalent to 1.4 years of primary school) is as good as possible.
There are many proven benefits for schools that carry out the OPAL Primary Programme. They usually include children enjoying school more, more teaching time because there are fewer accidents and arguments, increased physical activity and even children becoming better at maths.
Play is not messing about. It is the process evolution has come up with to enable children to learn all of the things that cannot be taught. That is why it is fun.
There are certain things children must have in order to be able to play. These include:
If you would like to learn more about the OPAL Primary Programme, please have a look at the OPAL website (www.outdoorplayandlearning.org.uk), where you will find lots of useful information. See the YouTube channel (OPALPlaytime) and on Twitter (@OPALCiC) for lots of examples of schools that have the kind of playtimes we want for our children.
Changes to the playground started to take place. There were lots of different activities going on, including fort building, dressing up, rolling around in tyres, bubles and a chalk art gallery covering the playground.
More big changes saw our fantastic Premises Team build a giant sandpit! The children were so excited watching the structure taking shape, then 7 tonnes of sand being delivered and finally the opportunity to play in it.