More Power of Playtimes: an OPAL online open day

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Playtime in primary schools is more important than ever. Learn how to transform your school and access a new free resource.

About this event

This is a public, global online open day, bringing together speakers from six OPAL schools who have either achieved their Platinum Award or are on track to. We will also be launching a free training resources for all schools.

Playtime in primary schools is more important than ever as many children have struggled to reintegrate with friends, feel safe and reconnect with the natural world after the various restrictions that have been placed on their lives because of Covid-19.

The OPAL Primary Programme supports a complete transformation in the way play opportunities across the school day are planned for and understood. It is more than ‘playtime buddies’, more games or a big investment in a new climbing frame or trim trail. It is a strategic school improvement programme, that transforms children’s outcomes across the board.

Six school leaders from award winning OPAL schools in England, Europe and Canada will share their experience in a series of three-minute long briefings. Some have recently started their OPAL journey, others have been investing in playtimes for many years. They are all passionate advocates for the power of playtime.

At this event you will hear from:

  • Inner city schools with tiny playgrounds.
  • Suburban schools with access to fields.
  • A school supporting disabled children.
  • An international school with very engaged parents.

You will also hear from Michael Follett, Founder and Director of Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) CIC, and Marguerite Hunter Blair, CEO of Play Scotland. Finally you will have the chance to share your stories and put questions to the panel.

We will be launching our new free online course Playwork Essentials for Primary Schools. You are guaranteed to take away information that will help you improve your school, whether you are looking for ideas for the last few weeks of summer term, support 'A Summer of Play', or you want to make big improvements to children’s play opportunities - and therefore their outcomes - at your school.

Confirmed panellists

  • Michael Follett - OPAL Founder and Director
  • Avinash Mani - Crescent Town Elementary School, Toronto
  • Faye James - Evergreen Primary (Special School), Bishop Auckland
  • Owen Wilder - Trinity CofE VA Primary and Nursery School, Exeter
  • Marguerite Hunter Blair - CEO of Play Scotland
  • Cath Prisk - OPAL Mentor, CEO Outdoor People

More speakers to be announced soon!

What is the OPAL Primary Programme?

OPAL is an award-winning programme that helps schools improve children’s play experiences. It was developed over the last 20 years by Michael Follett, previously a teacher, a playworker and a Local Authority School Improvement Advisor.

In short, the programme helps your school invest in play in the same way you plan for literacy, maths or safeguarding. So far, over 500 schools worldwide have gone through the OPAL Primary Programme, seeing improvements in children’s confidence, independence, resilience and happiness. These capabilities are critical to ensuring our children have a happy transition back into school now and are ready to face the many challenges in their future.

Find out more:

Twitter: @OPAL_CIC

Facebook: @OpalOutdoorplay

Many thanks to Sport England and The National Lottery for funding this event and resource.

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Organiser OPAL Outdoor Play and Learning CIC

Organiser of More Power of Playtimes: an OPAL online open day

The OPAL Primary Programme was developed by Michael Follett, a former school improvment adviser and teacher who has spent the past 18 years specialising in creating a programme to support school improvement through better play.  The OPAL programme has been delivered to around 300 schools in the UK and is rapidly expanding in Canada and Europe.

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