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Chilthorne Domer Church School

Together we Love, we Aim High and we Celebrate!

Opal Play

OPAL - Outdoor Play and Learning

 

We are embarking on our OPAL journey with the sole aim of creating happier playtimes! 

 

The OPAL Primary Programme...

 

Children in British primary schools spend 20% or 1.4 years of their school attendance in play and yet many schools have no strategic or values-based approach to play across all ages.

 

Research shows that play contributes to children’s physical and emotional health, well-being, approach to learning and enjoyment of school. Given the importance of play in children’s lives and current concerns about children’s health and opportunity to access time and space to initiate their own play outdoors, there are considerable benefits for children, parents, school and the wider community from participating in OPAL's programme. The OPAL Primary Programme supports schools in developing a cultural shift in thinking about and supporting children’s play. Its success comes from a series of interrelated actions undertaken with the specialist support from the OPAL mentor. This embeds play into school’s policies and practices and establishes clear guiding principles and strategies for initiating changes at playtimes. The results can be transformational and - at best – spectacular and show progress even in more challenging school environments.

 

Our OPAL journey started in September 2022 with a whole school INSET and will take 18 months to two years to get up to speed and fully embed. There is a working party that will work closely with Kate from OPAL to ensure that our children have the best possible playtimes. The working party consists of representatives from across the school as follows: 

 

Nichola Chesterton - Headteacher

Rebecca Denley - Class Teacher and Governor

Leanne Costello - Play Team Supervisor

Diane Stacey - Play Team member (previously known as lunch time supervisor)

Chelsea Wood - Parent

Jacqui Finlayson - Parent

Jodie Dalmasso - Parent 

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