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What is OPAL?

Research has shown that children spend 20% of their time in school playing. To ensure that this time and our fantastic school grounds are used to their full potential, our school has adopted an OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) philosophy that allows the children freedom to explore play in their own imaginative ways, often using found and gathered resources in the natural outdoor environment as well as made-made items.

We believe that play is essential for the physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development of each child. An OPAL approach promotes a more inclusive play environment in which all children can feel comfortable expressing themselves. Most of our best childhood memories are from playing outdoors, climbing trees and exploring the wide world around us. OPAL gives us the opportunity to give those memories to your children. OPAL's mission statement is "To ensure that every schoolchild has an amazing playtime every day with no exceptions."

We aim to:

  • Improve well-being
  • Develop self-regulation
  • Increase physical activity
  • Aid social and emotional development
  • Learn to manage risk
  • Have FUN!


The OPAL Programme rationale is that:

“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”.

Since starting our journey to enrich playtimes in 2023, we have begun to develop our vision of play across the school and are listening to feedback from children, families and staff. The children love the new outdoor opportunities that OPAL offers, including exploring the tyres, dancing to music and learning about the wildlife in the pond area. As we continue to introduce more activities, children are not only more active at playtimes, but they are also having the opportunity to further develop life skills such as cooperation, teamwork and problem-solving. They are becoming motivated and enthusiastic builders, engineers, explorers and artists.

Tyres used in play

What’s next?

We are hoping to have a 12m x 6m sandpit area put in. Watch this space!

Play types poster

Can you help?

To support our ongoing play projects, are you able to donate any of the following:

  • Plastic spades
  • Buckets
  • Funnels
  • Plastic jugs
  • Plastic shapes cutters
  • Small world toys
  • Role-play items
  • Lego table-top
  • Plastic boxes for storage
  • Pairs of wellies (sizes suitable for children aged 4–11)
  • Waterproof trousers, coats, all in ones (for ages 4–11)

Please place any donations in the OPAL box found in the front office area. Thank you!

Contact Us

Meadow Vale Primary School, Moordale Avenue, Priestwood, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG42 1SY