We would like to tell you about an exciting new opportunity that our school is about to embark on which will help us to improve the quality of play for all of our children. Working with an organisation called OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning), we are beginning to look at how best we can provide a range of challenging and fun opportunities at playtime.
Play has changed significantly over the last 25 years as the world has become a much busier and more technologically developed place. Children, sadly, sometimes miss out on the physical and creative side of play that is so important to their development. OPAL has been designed to give children the sense of freedom that perhaps we all enjoyed as children but that the modern world sometimes denies us.
We are committed to ensuring quality play opportunities are available to all of our children at Riverside Primary School as we believe that play is essential for children’s physical, emotional, social and intellectual development.
Our vision for play at Riverside Primary School:
We would like play in our school to become a freely chosen activity which your child will find satisfying and enjoyable. It will provide them with an opportunity to use their intuition, be physically active, be creative, make their own decisions, be outdoors and overall have fun.
This video was shot over one 45 minute playtime at St MIchael's Catholic Primary School in Surrey after 18 months of working with OPAL Outdoor Play and Learning using the OPAL Primary Programme.
Since embarking on the OPAL program, we have:
carried out risk benefit assessments
received OPAL training for the whole staff team on our February Training Day
held a Parent Information session, led by Ingrid, our OPAL mentor
developed an OPAL Working Group consiting of Headteacher, teaching and non-teaching staff, who meet regularly
produced and worked through a detailed action plan
written, adopted and implemented a Play Policy
visited OPAL platinum schools in North Tyneside
held a Grounds Development Day with our OPAL Mentor
created open ended opportunities for children at playtime
provided the children with enriching, exciting, fulfilling playtimes, that all children can access and enjoy, including SEN children.
opened up our playground so that all children from Year 1 to year 6 can play together
So far, we have created the following:
We are planning to introduce, soon:
Click here for more information.