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Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL)


Information for Families

Information for families was shared at a presentation at school in February 2020 when parents and carers came to find out about OPAL and see it in action in our outdoor environments. (You can access this information here: OPAL Parent Presentation.)

The visitors were impressed with what they saw:

'It's nice to see the Woodland Trail is being used in such a constructive manner.'

'It's been helpful to understand the OPAL ethos and see it in practice in the playground. I'm really impressed by it.'

'It's clear a lot of effort and resources have gone into it.'

'What I'm seeing is a whole bunch of kids doing a whole bunch of stuff - and being happy!'


Playgrounds in action

The OPAL philosophy is that as much of the outdoor space should be used by as many of the children as possible. Here you can see how we use our outdoor spaces!

Our Play Vision

Brackenbury Primary School recognises that play is an essential part of a happy and healthy childhood.

We have joined forces with OPAL (outdoorplayandlearning.org.uk) to transform our outdoor environment and ensure our children have the best play opportunities possible.

Play is considered a vital and integral part of children's development. To this end, we hold fortnightly play assemblies to celebrate and debate play and our school council is focusing on this topic.

We provide consistently high quality, sustainable play opportunities for all children. These inclusive opportunities in play are achieved by offering carefully considered outdoor spaces, equipment and toys that offer a rich choice of accessible play experiences for every child, including:

  • Den building
  • Music in the playground
  • Loose parts for creative play, including tyres, planks and crates
  • Dressing up clothes
  • Chill-out zones
  • Small world toys
  • Mud kitchens
  • Sandpits
  • Gardening equipment
  • Scooters, bikes and wheely boards.

At Brackenbury we are committed to using our school vision and our Play Policy (with its Appendix 1 advice from the Health and Safety Executive) to guide our planning and actions in providing play opportunities for children. We believe play has a vital role in children’s health, happiness and wellbeing. It creates children who are independent, confident, imaginative, adaptable, social and able to assess risks. These skills link closely to Brackenbury’s school values: proud, determined, brave, which were developed to encourage and teach essential life skills across the whole school day


Children's Play Charter

We have the right to have fun at playtimes. We have the responsibility to make sure that everyone has fun and our play does not stop this.

We have the right to make our own decisions about our play and choose what we do. We have the responsibility to make sure our decisions don’t affect others in a negative way.

We have the right to choose who we play with. We have the responsibility that no one is left out of play or forced to do something they don’t want to.

We have the right play with lots of different toys and have a well looked after environment. We have the responsibility to take pride in, respect and look after our environment and toys.

We have the right to explore, be creative and take thoughtful risks. We have the responsibility to think about what we are doing and talk to a play maker about the risks we are taking if they ask us to.

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