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.
One reason the school is carrying out this programme is that childhood has changed, and many children no longer get their play needs met out of school. Research shows that:
- The average screen time per day is six hours.
- The average outdoor play time per week is five hours.
- The percentage of UK children who only play outdoors with other children at school is 56%.
There are many proven benefits for schools that carry out the OPAL Primary Programme. They usually include: more enjoyment of school, less teaching time lost to disputes between children, fewer accidents and greatly improved behaviour.
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, while also having so much fun. There are certain things children must have in order to be able to play. These include:
- Having clothes that they can play in.
- Having things to play with.
- Having a certain amount of freedom.
As we continue to develop the playground, we will be asking you for resources and you will probably hear that your child is using more of the grounds, for more of the year. Your children may get a bit messier, be exposed to more challenges and have greater freedoms to play where, with whom and how they like. The experiences the school is fostering are essential for children’s physical and mental wellbeing and are in line with all current good practice advice on health and safety, wellbeing and development. Currently, we would welcome donations of wellies, large t-shirts to wear over uniform when painting and waterproof clothing in good condition.
Please bring any donations to the main school office.
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 and several videos about the programme.