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Clowne Junior School

Working together for success and happiness

OPAL Play

OPAL - OUTDOOR PLAY AND LEARNING 

We are excited that our school is now part of the Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) Primary Programme, which is endorsed and supported by Sport England and runs in hundreds of schools across the UK. 

 

OPAL play revolves around fostering child-led play, where children engage in learning through exploration, creativity, and the utilization of outdoor spaces to cultivate their play experiences. 

 

Children are granted the freedom to shape their own play, and in doing so, they acquire essential skills such as problem-solving, imagination, negotiation, emotional intelligence, resilience, wonder, and the formation of meaningful friendships. These skills are vital for their overall development.

 

We hold the belief that providing children with enriched, outdoor play experiences has a profound impact on their overall well-being and is intricately linked to their learning and achievements within the classroom setting.

As you can see, throughout their seven years in primary school, children spend approximately 20% of their time engaged in play, amounting to a substantial 1.4 years in total. Given how significant this amount of time is, it becomes evident that high-quality play, which contributes to their holistic development, becomes paramount.

OPAL in Action 

The video below gives you an example of another OPAL school and the play provision they have developed.

As we continue to develop our own programme, it will begin to look very similar.

The Benefits of Play 

  • Play is critical to children’s health and wellbeing, and essential for their physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development.  
  • Play enables children to explore the physical and social environment, as well as different concepts and ideas. 
  • Play enhances children’s self-esteem and their understanding of others through freely chosen social interactions, within peer groups, with individuals, and within groups of different ages, abilities, interests, genders, ethnicities and cultures. 
  • Play requires ongoing communication and negotiation skills, enabling children to develop a balance between their right to act freely and their responsibilities to others. 
  • Play enables children to experience a wide range of emotions and develop their ability to cope with these, including sadness and happiness, rejection and acceptance, frustration and achievement, boredom and fascination, fear and confidence. 
  • Play encourages self-confidence and the ability to make choices, problem solve and to be creative. 
  • Play maintains children’s openness to learning, develops their capabilities and allows them to push the boundaries of what they can achieve. 

Our Play Policy

Below is our Play Policy which outlines our values for play and our intentions for the OPAL project. 

Play Types 

 

The image below shows the 16 types of play our children will be exploring. 

Loose Parts and Resources

 

We are always on the lookout for 'loose parts' and resources for our OPAL provision. If you have any of the items below, that you no longer need and are able to donate, we would be very grateful! 

● Suitcases of any size and type
● Anything on wheels/castors
● Plastic milk crates/supermarket delivery crates/plastic bread trays
● Briefcases, especially hard cased ones
● Road signs and cones
● Kitchen pots, pans, baking trays, work tables, wooden spoons, chopping boards
● Tools like small spades/shovels, trowels and brooms
● Tubes of various sizes and various materials
● Buckets
● Nets and thick ropes
● Keyboards/torches/laptops/calculators/mobile phones/desk phones/webcams/cameras that are no longer working
● Fabric (large sheets/brightly coloured fabric)
● Foam sheets/bodyboards/camping roll mats/yoga mats

● Wooden pallets
● Metal frames
● Cable drums
● Guttering
● Noodles (the type you use in the swimming pool!)
● Hats/scarves/jazzy shirts/elasticated skirts/waistcoats/wedding dresses/character costumes
● Pegs (to help to set up dens)

More Information

 

For more information on the OPAL programme, please visit the official website below. 

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