OPAL and Outdoors Reception Environments


Reception classes are unique because they follow the Early Years and Foundation Stage Curriculum but are part of the school system. Learning in reception should be experiential and meet the needs of the bodies and minds of developing children.

OPAL has extensive experience in designing outdoor environments which meet the complex development needs of reception age children and also meeting the needs of the adults supporting them.

The case study below shows the transformation that took place at Kingfisher Academy in Bristol. This transformed much more than the physical space, it also transformed practice and behaviour.

OPAL environments are landscapes which support and promote play and playful learning, this has little to do with traditional play equipment and requires knowledge of; early years schema, the demands on staff, acceptable risk-benefit relationships and effective play design principles.

  • The typical process for development would be.
  • First site visit and observation
  • Developing a brief in consultation with all staff
  • First draft ideas then, consultation
  • First draft plan and 3D model, then consultation
  • Construction
  • Snagging and maintenance