The Importance of Play
UN Rights of the Child:
Article 31 (leisure, play and culture) Every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.
Research has shown that children spend 20% of their time in school playing. This equates to 1.4 years of their school attendance. To ensure that this time and our fantastic school grounds are used to their full potential, our school has adopted an OPAL philosophy that allows the children freedom to explore play in their own imaginative ways, often using found and gathered resources in the natural outdoor environment as well as made-made items.
We believe that play is essential for physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development of each child. An OPAL approach promotes a more inclusive play environment in which all children can feel comfortable to express themselves. Most of our best childhood memories are from playing outdoors, climbing trees and exploring the wide world around us. OPAL gives us the opportunity to give those memories to your children.
I really like playtime because I can ride in suitcases. It's my ninja vehicle!
At playtime I build things like castles and I like climbing trees...but not too high! I'm overcoming my fear of heights.
Since starting our journey to enrich playtimes in 2019, with the support of our OPAL Mentor Neil and the OPAL Programme, we have transformed our vision of play across the school. The children love the new outdoor opportunities that OPAL offers with so much more for them to do: from building dens and forts, making rope swings, to enjoying imaginative play in the small world area or cooking up a storm in the mud kitchen. Alongside this, we have created zones for the children to enjoy sporting activities and more traditional playground games. So many play types for them to enjoy!
Through this approach to play, children are not only more active at playtimes, but they are also having the opportunity to further develop life skills such as cooperation, teamwork and problem solving. They are becoming motivated and enthusiastic builders, engineers, explorers and designers.
OPAL in Action
Meet the Team
Can you help?
It's amazing that items which may be discarded can be turned into dens, swings, costumes, sculptures and much more. And we're also helping to reduce, reuse and recycle!
If you have any of the following items, we'd love to have them in school:
The OPAL Team are always thinking about our next steps. Some projects we currently have in mind are:
- Welly store for Year 2
- Mud kitchen
- Digging area
- Sand play
Click the links below to read the guidance that we follow to help make our OPAL project an exciting yet safe experience for our children: