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OPAL - Outdoor Play and Learning

At Samares School we follow the OPAL Primary Programme to support high quality play provision to enrich our children's play and support their development during lunch times. 

In 2023, we were awarded with the OPAL Platnium acredditation reflecting the high quality provision we have for children at Samares School. 

The OPAL Primary Programme rationale is that “… better, 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.”  

Definition and value of play  

Play is defined as a process that is intrinsically motivated, directed by the child and freely chosen by the child. Play has its own value and provides its own purpose. It may or may not involve equipment or other people.   

We believe play has many benefits, including:  

  • Play is critical to children’s health and wellbeing, and essential for their physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development.   

  • Play enables children to explore the physical and social environment, as well as different concepts and ideas.  

  • Play enhances children’s self-esteem and their understanding of others through freely chosen social interactions, within peer groups, with individuals, and within groups of different ages, abilities, interests, genders, ethnicities and cultures.  

  • Play requires ongoing communication and negotiation skills, enabling children to develop a balance between their right to act freely and their responsibilities to others.  

  • Play enables children to experience a wide range of emotions and develop their ability to cope with these, including sadness and happiness, rejection and acceptance, frustration and achievement, boredom and fascination, fear and confidence.  

  • Play encourages self-confidence and the ability to make choices, problem solve and to be creative.  

  • Play maintains children’s openness to learning, develops their capabilities and allows them to push the boundaries of what they can achieve.  

A parent guide to outdoor play and learning can be found through the following link:   

Videos about outdoor play and learning:   

We are always on the lookout for more equipment to help resource our play provision. Please email Mrs Hannah ( if you are able to help us.