OPAL - Outdoor Play and Learning
OPAL - Outdoor Play and Learning
At St Peter’s we believe that all children and young people have the right to play and the right to learn as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Children. Playing outdoors enhances learning and is fundamental for children and young people to thrive in health, wellbeing and development. It is our responsibility to support and enable all of our pupils to access our diverse greenspaces and natural landscapes and to empower them to enjoy these spaces for the purposes of playing and learning.
To this end, we implemented the OPAL Primary Programme and have gone from strength to strength ever since. We adopt an ‘access all areas, in all weathers’ approach, where pupils have access to rich and varied environments and a wealth of play opportunities through a wide range of play equipment, small and large loose parts and much, much more.
In June 2019 we were awarded the OPAL PLATINUM AWARD. The report by Michael Follett, OPAL Director follows:
"Many congratulations on your Platinum OPAL award. You and the school should be immensely proud of complete transformation in ethos and practice you have put in place.
St Peter's Catholic Primary School has scored 97% in an 18-point audit on the quality of the school’s provision of high quality outdoor play and learning opportunities. The grounds of the school are exceptionally rich and varied and now that the quality of understanding and provision of play is equally exceptional, children at St Peter's are able to access some of the very best school based play opportunities in the UK.
The school's transformation of its approach to play has clearly benefited children's well-being. There has been an 87% decrease in children who do not enjoy playtimes and a 36% increase in children's self-reported happiness at playtimes. Lunchtime staff are also happier and senior leadership have reported a dramatic and sustained drop in behaviour incidents arising from playtimes. The school reports that its most vulnerable children are having much more positive experiences at playtime and this is having a positive impact on their whole experience of attending school.
St Peter's should be immensely proud of the transformation it has achieved through its hard work and dedication to children's happiness and wellbeing. The school is now a national exemplar of outstanding provision for outdoor play and learning."
Michael Follett BA Hons, PGCE, OPAL Director
With the warm weather we've had, the children have been enjoying playing in all the different OPAL zones. They have been making campfires in the forest school area, rolling down the bank inside a water butt, playing with the Barbie dolls and arts and crafts in the quiet area, building sandcastles in the sand pit and making bases and obstacle courses with the donations of tyres and pallets we received from local companies. They are LOVING OPAL. As a result of this, we'd love you to experience OPAL too, so, starting next Monday (20th May 2019) until the end of the summer term, parents/carers are invited to 'Stay and Play' with your children from 3.15pm - 4pm every Monday and Friday. This will be unsupervised play - all we ask is that you follow these simple rules:
1. Sign the sheet in the main office to say you are staying (this is so we know who is on site) and sign it again when you are leaving (so we know you have left!).
2. Treat the resources and the zones with respect.
3. Tidy away the resources when you and your children have finished with them.
4. The POND by the forest school zone is strictly out of bounds.
5. Bring your own drinks, snacks and first aid supplies - the school does not accept any liability for any accidents that occur - you 'Stay and Play' at your own risk.
6. Take all your litter home with you.
7. Have an amazing OPAL experience!
Thank you for your continued support Mrs Jackson, OPAL Play Coordinator and Mr Dowling, OPAL Leader
It is essential that all children are kitted out with waterproof coats and wellingtons (clearly named) to stay in school every day so that the children can access all areas in all weather and get the most out of their OPAL experience.
As many of the zones are muddy there is a strong possibility of clothing getting wet and dirty. Waterproof trousers and/or a change of clothes are highly recommended to protect their school clothes.