OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning)

At St. Michael’s CofE Primary School, we believe playtime should be inclusive with all children provided with the opportunities to play in line Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), whereby all children have the right to relax, play, and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.

With a staggering 20% of a child’s time in school being playtime, we have worked to develop the play opportunities offered to children by adopting OPAL’s philosophy to allow children freedom to explore play in their own imaginative way, often using found and gathered resources in the environment around them.

OPAL is based on the idea that as well as learning through good teaching, your children also learn when they play, and 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.

The OPAL programme rational is that “…better, more active and creative playtimes can mean happier and healthier children, and having happier, healthier, more active children usually results in a more positive attitude to learning in school, with more effective classroom lessons, less staff time spent resolving unnecessary behaviour problems, fewer playtime accidents, happier staff and a healthier attitude to life.”

You can find out further information about OPAL by visiting their website



The aims of play

At St. Michael’s, we aim to address the provision of improved play opportunities:

  • To ensure play opportunities and environments provide a varied, challenging and stimulating environments which will enhance learning about the world around them.
  • To allow children to take risks and use a common-sense approach to these risks and their benefits.
  • To provide a range of environments which will encourage children to explore and play imaginatively.
  • To provide opportunities for children to develop their relationships.
  • To build on mutual respect with each other and respect the environment around them.
  • To aid children’s physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development.
  • To promote independence and teamwork within children.
  • To build emotional and physical resilience.



Equipment and Zones could include (but are not limited to):

  • Tyres and planks
  • Mud Cafe and kitchen
  • Small world (e.g. dinosaurs, cars, fantasy world)
  • Mini-beast / plant exploring
  • Scooters, skateboards, bikes and other means of transport/travel
  • Hoops, balls, skipping ropes
  • Sports zone
  • Sand-play / sandpit
  • Big chalks and bubbles
  • Crates, containers and cardboard boxes (for den building or whatever the children choose to do)
  • Performing (music, drama, dressing up)


Zones coming soon…

  • Digging areas



If you have anything you would like to donate, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we are always looking to enhance our play provision!