What is OPAL?
OPAL stands for Outdoor Play and Learning. OPAL is a community interest company dedicated to providing services to schools and organisations to improve the quality of play opportunities for all children.
Meopham Community Academy have enlisted the support of OPAL to help us to create better playtimes for all. Some of the benefits include:
Children at OPAL schools rapidly develop creativity, imagination, cooperation, resilience, social skills, emotional regulation, stamina, confidence and readiness to learn on returning to the classroom.
OPAL's approach makes play better for every child, every day...no exceptions!
Play is a human need and a human right. Children and staff at OPAL's schools report feeling less stressed and happier, and more excited about school.
What does this look like at MCA?
Meopham Community Academy is a Platinum OPAL School. Lunchtimes at Meopham Community Academy are not only lots of fun but a great opportunity for children to develop key skills that they wouldn't otherwise develop through the curriculum. The children are encouraged to take risks however they are also taught how to do this safely. We hold play assemblies when new zones are opened in which the expectations around how the equipment is used and appropriate risks they can take are discussed.
The children have free access to the whole OPAL site which includes two playgrounds, an astroturf area, quiet areas, the field and small world areas. These are organised into zones and each zone is appropriately supervised. The children therefore mix across year groups which allows for some great play opportunities and allows for children to play with their siblings should they wish to.
How can you help your child to get the most out of OPAL?
Please ensure your child has everything they need to access OPAL all year round.
It is also really important that parents support the fact that play can be messy. Your child will come home having had the best time and this may mean their clothes are muddy, they may have chalk on them or grass stains from rolling down a hill. Responding positively to this will ensure your child knows it is okay to have fun and engage in play rather than worry about dirty clothes.