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OPAL (Outside Play and Learning)




It has long been recognised that play is fundamental to a child’s health, happiness, development and wellbeing. Children spend 20% of their time in school playing and this led our team to reflect upon how playtimes could be improved in our school for our children, so in the Autumn of 2023 our OPAL journey began!


The OPAL vision is that “every child in every school has an hour of high quality play every day” and as a school we share this vision and recognise the importance of play on a child’s life.


We are developing the OPAL programme and with the support of our school community, we are ambitious in making sure our play provision fosters creativity, encourages interaction, is inclusive and provide opportunity for children to take risks. 
















We are fortunate to have such spacious school grounds and traditionally some of these spaces have been underused, however through our OPAL programme we will be transforming our school grounds offering the highest quality play experiences whatever the weather!


Fundamental to our approach is that children have the opportunity to play wherever they want, with whoever they want. At Healdswood, we have defined ‘play’ as a process that is intrinsically motivated, directed by the child and freely chosen by the child. Children have the opportunity to explore and play imaginatively using loose parts which are different in each of our OPAL zones. Our outdoor areas will see a transformation over the next 18 months and offer wider play opportunities for our children. 

Our OPAL play programme was launched in the early Autumn and our OPAL programme will be continuing to go from strength to strength but there is always more to do, so with the support of our OPAL play team and community, the world of play will continue to be transformed to capture and inspire our children’s imaginations.




The school acknowledges the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child, especially Article 31, and supports the child’s right to play. We believe play provision should be: