OPAL guest blogs on Primary school play for partners’ websites
A simple and fun idea to raise the profile of play in your school. Never mind complicated playground games or playground equipment if you want to improve behaviour and well-being in schools the answer is better play. Blog for Outdoor Classroom Day by OPAL Director Michael Follett Read the blog on Outdoor Classroom Website
How to male Playtimes Excellent A blog for PTAs and parents on the best way for parents to support better play in primary schools. PTAs like to raise money for brightly coloured playground equipment in an effort to support schools to improve playtime behaviour. In this Blog Michael Follett describes how PTA’s can use their hard-earned money to make a lasting difference to playtimes for every child in their school. Read the blog on the PTA UK website
Ten tips for excellent play. OPAL Director Michael Follett, author of Creating Excellence in Primary School Playtimes, provides 10 tips to help primary schools meet Ofsted criteria for excellent playtimes. Once you have tried playground markings, trim trails, skipping workshops, buddy benches and playground games, all without lasting improvement, what can you do next to improve your playtimes? Read Blog on JKP Website
Take the Play Challenge Schools want to improve playtimes, they may want to improve behaviour, create happier playtimes, increase physical activity or mental well-being. But it is not a matter of simply laying some playground markings, putting in a trim trail or adding a few loose parts. Michael Follett set up OPAL – Outdoor Play and Learning – as a community interest company over five years ago. Since then, hundreds of schools across the UK, as well as schools in Canada, New Zealand and Australia have successfully completed the OPAL Primary Programme.
Here, he explains how he persuades Headteachers to invest in play development.
Read the blog on the Play England Website
Believe in the power of outdoor learning and play?
“We are living in an age of unprecedented uncertainty and change. Nobody has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time. And yet we’re educating children for it”, says Sir Ken Robinson. What can we do?
Schematic Play Parts 1-3
Guest blogger Michael Follett Director of OPAL Outdoor Play and Learning and author of Creating Excellence in Primary School Playtimes writes about the patterns of behaviours common in children’s play and how to support children to explore them.
Its not too late to sign up for Outdoor Classroom Day
How about joining in Outdoor Classroom Day, a global campaign to celebrate and inspire learning and play outside the classroom?
Learning outdoors is not new, but in 2017 we have more evidence than ever before that shows the powerful impact it has on students and teachers. Natural England, a UK based NGO, recently showed that 92 per cent of teachers involved in their four year trial have said that having lessons outdoors improved pupils engagement with learning, and 94 per cent said it also improved their health and wellbeing.*
Most of the teachers involved also said that outdoor learning made them feel happier about their own teaching experience too!
Children’s outdoor play can be even more powerful. In their play children develop imaginary worlds that they can control, where they can triumph over disaster. They can develop new games and test out ways of behaving and ideas. They are physically active and emotionally engaged.
This behaviour is important. It is how we all build up a repertoire of flexible responses to situations we create and encounter in our lives. And it’s how children build confidence, resilience, teamwork and emotional intelligence. It’s how they learn who they are and who they might become. Its also how they are happiest. **
Back in 2011, Anna Portch, an Environmental Education activist, was inspired by Tim Gill’s Sowing the Seeds report to develop the original Outdoor Classroom campaign. In 2012 a handful of south London schools got involved. From there, it has grown into an international movement — in 2016 almost half a million children across over 50 countries got outdoors to play and learn as part of their school day and in 2017 it is already over one million, with many schools in the far east and Australasia still to take part!
If you’re new to outdoor learning or your school doesn’t yet have a whole school play policy, why not use Outdoor Classroom day to have a go? Or if it’s part of your normal week, why not use the day to celebrate what you’re doing already and encourage other schools in your area to join in? An easy way to double your own impact…
Whatever you decide to do, get started on your Outdoor Classroom Day adventure on 18 May and be prepared to be amazed!
Outdoor Classroom Day is coordinated globally by Project Dirt, and led in specific countries by local NGOs. It is backed by Unilever’s Dirt is Good brands around the world.