Outdoor Play and Learning

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At Gayton Primary School we are committed to ensuring quality play opportunities are available to all our children. As a result of this, since 2021, we have been an OPAL School. In 2023, we received the platinum OPAL award (1st Wirral School to do this) in recognition of the wonderful play opportunities that we provide for our children at break times and lunchtimes. We have frequent visitors to our school to look at our OPAL offer and we love to share our OPAL journey with them so that we can continually develop our practice.

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 Gayton 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 openess to learning, develops their capabilities and allows them to push the boundaries of what they can achieve.

OPAL documentation: