Schools have an enormous responsibility in making sure children progress, yet loosely supervised, unstructured free play known as 'playtime' is not unfortunately what is focused upon. This is not their fault, as the pressure for progressive stats on school children has become a priority. This article gives schools the opportunity to gain advise in changing the way we manage 'playtime' for the better.

Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) was founded by Michael Follett (Director of OPAL), who's primary programme has helped hundreds of schools and early learning centres create. This great play and learning platform for children happens within schools' playtime, solving recurring issues, like behaviour, boredom, accidents and incidents, and lack of respect for playtime supervisors.

The Importance of OPAL

This programme helps teach young people everything that can't be taught. It helps to improve children's behaviour, mental well-being, self-regulation, social and emotional development, attendance and reduces accidents. Due to having happier children, there are improvements all over the school even with attainment and productivity for children in afternoon lessons.

Award Levels

Schools, once committing to this programme, will go through a number of initial visits by an OPAL mentor, which are:

  • Introductory meeting
  • Observation and audit meeting
  • Developmental meetings around safety/risk management, staff best practice, and managing resources
  • Awards and final plan meeting

Following on from creating a final bespoke plan and having the continual support from OPAL, the school will start their journey with the implementation process that lasts up to 18 months.

Once the school's cultural and practical transformations have been implemented and maintained, OPAL will return to give a second audit, highlighting what level to award them. The award levels are silver, gold, and platinum.

Click here to find out more about the OPAL Award.

Getting Started

If you are interested in enhancing your school's playtime, then you can speak to one of OPAL's team about:

  • where to visit a nearby by platinum school
  • how to set up an introductory meeting
  • the primary programme

To talk to one of OPAL's team, please click here.