Pocklington Community Junior School

OPAL Play Project

OPAL project

The school has embarked on an ambitious reinvention of our lunchtimes. Following extensive research into best practice, we identified Outdoor Play And Learning (OPAL) as the approach and we are now fully engaged in this programme. This approach ties closely with our school values and fosters the behaviours and attitudes that children need as they grow to ensure they are productive, risk-aware members of society. The programme recognises  that core skills  are best accrued by children through high quality play, including co-operation, context rich language use, problem solving, negotiation, creativity and mental and physical well-being. OPAL enables schools to clearly evidence both a base-line and also a monitorable improvement strategy for active learning, well being and physical activity.

For more information on the programme, please visit the OPAL website, available here.

Our first adaptations had a dramatic impact on lunchtimes:

“Yesterday, [my child] came home full of energy and saying she’d had the best day EVER at school.  She seemed totally liberated, free and so enthusiastic. A total transformation from the usual lethargic response of “I’m tired, I’ll tell you about my day later!”.It was wonderful to see and I’m sure that enthusiasm will continue into the classroom post-lunch to help her learning flourish. Thank you so much, it is wonderful to see such a creative approach to education and injecting FUN into their school experience.” – Parent of Year 6 child

“I wanted to congratulate you on recognising the importance of play and learning through play at school. Personally I would rather my child came home with muddy knees and got the odd bump or scrape than missed out on opportunities for play and risk taking. We are constantly battling with the screen obsession at home, and try to give the children lots of other opportunity to play.” – Parent of Year 5 child

OPAL Play Wear

  • Wellington boots or shoes/boots that children can change into as they may get muddy.
  • Waterproof coat – our children do play out in the rain. We also recommend a coat that can easily be washed/wiped for muddier conditions.

Please see our Play Policy.

 Our OPAL Play Leaders

Greener Pocklington kindly donated trees and helped us plant them.