OPAL - Outdoor Play & Learning
At Devonshire, we have started a programme to improve opportunities for physical activity, socialisation, co-operation, coordination, resilience, creativity, imagination and enjoyment through improved play.
The OPAL Outdoor Play and Learning Programme is the result of 17 years testing and development in over 380 schools and is now used in Canada, France and New Zealand as well as across the UK. Work has started to adapt the programme for schools in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Austria. In 2018 OPAL won first prize in an EU funded award for the best active school’s programme in Europe and tow UK national playwork awards.
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.
One reason Devonshire is carrying 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 5 hours
- Average outdoor play time per week 5 hours
- Percentage of UK children who only play outdoor with other children at school 56%
There are many proven benefits for school which carry out the OPAL Programme. They usually include: more enjoyment of school, less teaching time lost to disputes between children, less accidents and greatly improved behaviour.
We now have a large ‘loose parts’ shed and have a variety of exciting play equipment for the children to play with. We are always looking to add more play equipment to enrich the children’s play experiences outside.
For more information about the opal programme visit: https://outdoorplayandlearning.org.uk/