Woolavington Village Primary School

Woolavington Village Primary School


Thinking about your own childhood, what did you like playing at school or at home? Children today don’t have the same freedoms we once did, so we want to give children back time to really enjoy and learn from play.

At Woolavington we want to improve opportunities for physical activity, socialisation, cooperation, coordination, resilience, creativity, imagination and enjoyment through improved play. To achieve this, we will be launching the Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) Primary Programme, which is the result of over 20 years of testing and development in over 800 schools across the world. 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 we as a school have decided to carry out this programme is that childhood has changed, and many children no longer get their play needs met out of school.

● Average screen time per day is six hours.

● Average outdoor play time per week is five hours.

● Percentage of UK children who only play outdoors with other children at school is 56%.

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 our school improves play opportunities for your children, you may find we are asking you for resources as we improve play across our site. Our site plan includes using all areas of our school for different play purposes, in all weathers! 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. We have wellies available for all children for when the ground is particularly muddy during the winter months.

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. If you would like to learn more about the OPAL Primary Programme, please have a look at the OPAL website:  http://www.outdoorplayandlearning.org.uk/

You can also use the following link to see a fantastic example of the type of playtime we envisage for our pupils through the OPAL approach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm7IfAEsjqI

Supporting Documents

OPAL Policy

OPAL Risk Assessment