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Ashdown Primary School

Covid 19

Outdoor Play and Learning

Exciting things have happened at Ashdown. We have started on our OPAL journey.

Did you know that play is 20% of a child's time at school? We want to develop this and ensure children are giving those vital play skills where they can learn risk, have fun, challenge themselves and join in high quality play.


Remember your play times? Climbing trees? Building dens? Not an x-box in sight. We want this at Ashdown. Keep an eye on this page for our developments and changes! 

We are developing our outdoor play and learning with support from the OPAL (Outdoor play and Learning) programme (http://outdoorplayandlearning.org.uk)

“The OPAL Programme is a mentor supported, year-long programme to enable a sustained, long-term improvement in the quality of playtimes at primary schools.”

The OPAL Programme rationale is that: “More active and creative playtimes can mean happier and healthier children, and having happier, healthier, more active children usually results in a more positive attitude to learning in school, with more effective classroom lessons, less staff time spent resolving unnecessary behavioural problems, fewer playtime accidents, happier staff and a healthier attitude to life”.




Since embarking on the OPAL program, with support from Kurti – our OPAL mentor - we have:

  • carried out risk benefit assessments with staff and children

  • delivered INSET for the whole staff team

  • produced and worked through a detailed action plan

  • written a policy for Play

  • held a grounds development day

  • requested loose parts from staff, parents and the local community

  • empowered the play team (midday supervisors)

    created open ended opportunities for children at playtime


Next steps

In the short term, we will begin to develop part of the field, to allow for more natural loose parts play, and will create a digging area. We will purchase a loose parts store so that children can independently access a range of play equipment at each playtime.


Here is the fantastic powerpoint that Year 5 have created about how much fun they are having with OPAL:

OPAL buddies