Why is Play and Playtime at school so important?
Children have a right to play. As adults, we have a responsibility to ensure that childhood experiences include opportunities for play.
Article 31 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child states:
- Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
- Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.
Time outdoors playing, learning and exploring has a critical, positive impact on children’s lives. Multiple studies in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil, India, China and Singapore show time outdoors leads to:
- Increased attainment
- Increased attendance
- Less time off sick (both pupils and staff)
- Improved behaviour
- Increased connection to nature
- Much more physical activity (especially girls)
- Improved mental health
What is the OPAL programme?
The OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) programme supports schools to develop their outdoor play provision. It is the only programme of its kind that has been independently proven to sustainably improve the quality of play in British primary schools. Provision aims to support children in engaging in high quality play across the 16 different play types.
Why is Branfil taking part in the OPAL Programme?
Children attend primary school for seven years. Of those seven years, around 1.4 years (20%) will be spent outside actively playing, making `playtime’ by far the most dominant element within the curriculum.
What has happened so far at Branfil?
We started our OPAL Development in spring 2022. We are still on our way to achieving our vision. So far the children have benefitted from the addition of the following resources:
- Music, to dance and sing along to
- Hill play
- Den making
- Sand pit
- Muddy play area
- Tyres, crates and planks
- Performance area (dance and drama)
- Musical instruments
- Scooter area
- Mindfulness area
- Water play
- Story shed (books, puppets, small world)
- Board games and garden games
- Sports activities via our Sports Coach, Mr Spittle (e.g. basketball, table tennis)
- Climbing wall and climbing frame