OUTDOOR PLAY AND LEARNING (OPAL)
Outdoor Play & Learning
At St Bernard's we are committed to ensuring quality play opportunities are available to all our children. As a result of this, part of our school development plan involves us engaging in an exciting project with OPAL (Outdoor Play & Learning). The OPAL programme provides us with a mentor who works closely with the school in order to support us in enhancing and developing our play opportunities. OPAL is all about using natural and man-made resources to allow children to be inspired and creative at playtime.
At St Bernard's 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, different concepts and different ideas.
- Play enhances children's self-esteem and their understanding of others through freely chosen social interactions, within peer groups, with individuals, and within different 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 be creative.
- Play maintains children's openness to learning, develops their capabilities and allows them to push the boundaries of what they can achieve.