Outdoor Play And Learning

OPAL stands for Outdoor Play And Learning, and it is a huge part of life here at Beech Green.  The rational behind pritoritising quality play provision is that more active and creative playtimes can mean happier and healthier children.  Having happier, healthier and more active children usually results in a more positive attitude to learning in school.  It results in more effective classroom lessons, less staff time spent resolving unnecessary behavioural problems, fewer playtime accidents, happier staff and a healthier attitude to life.
We believe that great play offers learning opportunities to support:  
  • Regulating emotions e.g. learning about oneself and others, sadness/gladness, rejection/acceptance, frustration/achievement, boredom/fascination, fear/confidence 
  • Social interactions - enhancing self-esteem and understanding of others through freely chosen interactions e.g. within peer groups, with individuals, with groups of different ages, abilities, interests, gender, ethnicity and culture
  • Making choices, problem solving, being creative
  • Playing with scrap materials, tyres and other multipurpose objects 
  • Achieving and also coping with failing. 
  • Communication and negotiation skills. 
Our children are involved in the decision making around play, and regularly discuss and agree to our School OPAL Charter - see Useful Downloads.  There, you will also find our regularly updated Risk Benefit Assessment, which we undertake to ensure that our children can play safely.  If you would like to read our Play Policy, you can find it here.
We hold termly Stay and Play sessions, where parents and carers are invited to  join in with all the fun.   Parents and pupils are also invited to complete annual surveys to help inform us of what we are getting right, and areas we can improve.
In the Summer of 2022, we we very proud to be presented with the OPAL Platinum award, which demonstrates the amazing quality of play we are able to provide our children with.