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What is OPAL?

It has long been recognised that play is fundamental to a child’s health, happiness, development and well-being. Research has also shown that children spend 20% of their time in school playing. This led us to reflect upon how playtimes could be improved at Godmanchester Bridge Academy to help support the pupils in our school.

The OPAL vision is that “every child in every school has an amazing hour of high quality play every day” and as a school we share this vision and recognise the enormous benefits play has on a child’s life.

We have developed the OPAL approach and worked with our school community to improve our play provision. Our school grounds are a fantastic space with a large playground and a large field. Historically, some of these spaces have been underused – especially our field. However, through our OPAL project, our school site is being developed to ensure that high quality play opportunities are available whatever the weather.

Our approach strives to ensure that the children have the opportunity to play wherever they want, with whoever they want and within reason, with whatever they want. Children have the freedom to explore and play in their own imaginative ways, experimenting, solving problems and above all, having fun using a wide range of available resources.

Our outdoor areas will be continually carefully planned and developed to offer a wider range of play opportunities. Currently, the children love playing in all the different areas including rolling tyres across the site, transforming a hill into a mud slide, digging in our digging pit, building dens with pallets, inventing recipes in the mud kitchen, dancing to music, creating games with small world toys or enjoying the scooters. They are having fun and are developing life skills of teamwork, problem solving, communication, resilience whilst also developing their creativity and imagination.

Our OPAL play project has been a great success so far and the children love being outside. Our project goes from strength to strength but there is always more to do so with the support of our OPAL team and fantastic families the world of play will continue to be transformed to capture and inspire our children’s imaginations.

So, what are our playtimes like?