What is OPAL?
Research has shown that children spend 20% of their time in school playing. To ensure that this time and our fantastic school grounds are used to their full potential our school has adopted an OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) 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.
An OPAL approach promotes a more inclusive play environment in which all children can feel comfortable to express themselves. Our OPAL journey began in September 2020 and in that short time, we have already started to look at how we can transform our environment.
In Fridays Are...the children have designed their perfect playground. It might take us some time to bring our designs to reality but we will get there. The starting point is making sure children have the footwear and clothing for all weathers. Once they do, the weather is no longer seen as a problem.
OPAL will offer our children an exciting alternative to the standard playground activities.
Through this approach to play, our children will not only be more active at lunch or break times, but they will also having the opportunity to further develop life skills such as cooperation, team work and problem solving. Through OPAL our children will become more motivated and enthusiastic builders, engineers, explorers and designers.
Here are some interesting facts you may not know:
If play makes up 20% of your school life…… that means every year you spend a total of 231 hours playing. This amounts to 37 days or nearly 7 and a half weeks altogether. Now that’s a lot!!!
We really want to change the way we play. We want to make it more fun and exciting regardless of the weather.
At Hetton Lyons our aim is for every child to have an amazing playtime, every day … no exceptions!
Do you know play:
It keeps us active and healthy. It allows us to take risks.
It helps us to become resilient. It helps us to build positive
friendships. It makes us happy (positive mental health)