OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning)
What is OPAL?
It has long been recognised that play is fundamental to a child’s health, happiness, development and well-being. Research has also shown that children spend 20% of their time in school playing. This led us to reflect upon how playtimes could be improved at Fourfields and in the summer of 2021 our OPAL journey began.
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.
We have developed the OPAL approach and worked with our school community to improve our play provision. Our school grounds are a fantastic space with a large playground and a large field. Traditionally some of these spaces have been underused however through our OPAL project our school site is being developed to offer high quality play experiences whatever the weather.
Fundamental to our approach is that children have the opportunity to play wherever they want, with whoever they want. 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.
Our outdoor areas are continually being developed to offer an even wider range of play opportunities. The children love playing in all the different areas including rolling in tyres, building with crates, creating dens, new recipes in the mud kitchen, creating games with small world toys or enjoying the scooters. They are having fun and are developing life skills of team work, problem solving, communication, resilience whilst also developing their creativity and imagination.
Our OPAL play project is a great success and the children love being outside. Our project goes from strength to strength but there is always more to do so with the support of our OPAL team and fantastic families the world of play will continue to be transformed to capture and inspire our children’s imaginations.
So, what are our playtimes like?
Please click on the thumbnails below to view our OPAL newsletter and Play Policy: