Scroll to content

Interactive Bar

Facebook Facebook
Twitter Twitter


OPAL School Video

At Parkhead we believe that play is essential for physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development of each child throughout the school. This is even more important currently as our children work to catch up on lost opportunities for interaction after the effects of Covid restrictions.


What is OPAL?

In Summer 2021 we became an OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) school. OPAL is all about using our full grounds and resources to allow children to be inspired and creative at playtime. We want to make the most of our wonderful site and encourage our children to be energetic, creative and co-operative.


Play is a process that is freely chosen by the child, directed by the child and from the child’s own motivation and reasoning. During primary education, children spend around 1.4 years outside actively playing.

OPAL focuses on providing a wide variety of play opportunities from the fifteen types of play, meaning children are still learning and having fun whilst outside. OPAL has a strong impact on children’s creativity, imagination, cooperation, resilience, stamina and overall confidence.


15 Types of Play outlined by OPAL

  • Symbolic Play – pretend playing with objects or toys representing other objects.
  • Locomotor Play – movement in any or every direction.
  • Recapitulative Play – exploring ancestry, history and stories.
  • Creative Play – practising skills for self-expression.
  • Exploratory Play – learning about the world and the effect they can have on the environment.
  • Deep Play – learning to take risks.
  • Imaginative Play – open-ended play to explore using their imaginations.
  • Social Play – interacting with peers.
  • Mastery Play – purposeful play.
  • Object Play – playful use of objects.
  • Role Play – exploring scenarios they have seen, experienced or would like to experience.
  • Socio-dramatic Play – imaginative and dramatic play shared with peers.
  • Communication Play – communicating with peers.
  • Dramatic Play – taking on the role of someone else.
  • Fantasy Play – play which rearranges the world in the child’s eyes.


Through OPAL we have:

  • Happier children
  • Children coming into class ready to learn
  • More active, fit and energetic children
  • A fully inclusive playtime offer
  • More opportunities for children to be creative and make decisions
  • Children who can develop independence and resilience
  • Increased social skills and collaboration between children

…. and most importantly fun!


What your child needs for OPAL

We want the children to be out every day, in all weathers, in all parts of our grounds. Please make sure they have wellies and a warm coat in school. Waterproof trousers are a good idea too if they love getting mucky.


Don’t throw it away!

We are continually developing our play offer as we work through the OPAL programme and are always looking for any spare items you have that we could use.


Item like these are always appreciated.

  • Suitcases of any size and type - anything on wheels/castors
  • Plastic milk crates and wooden pallets
  • Briefcases, especially hard cased ones
  • Road signs and cones
  • Kitchen pots, pans, baking trays, worktables, wooden spoons, chopping boards
  • Tools like spades, trowels, brooms and buckets
  • Tubes of various sizes and various materials
  • Nets and ropes
  • Keyboards/torches/laptops/calculators that are no longer working
  • Fabric (large sheets/brightly coloured fabric/saris)
  • Foam sheets / body boards
  • Cable drums
  • Guttering
  • Noodles (the type you use in the swimming pool!)
  • Pegs (to help to set up dens)

Thank you to everyone who has donated items so far.



What our children say about OPAL

It’s like freedom, isn’t it?

Lily Year 6


You’re never too old to follow your dreams.

Faye Year 6


I know how to be safe. I can check the height and that there are no people when I jump down.

Lenny Year 2


There are things to do if I want to run around and things to do if I don’t want to run around.

Khyann Year 2


When I go on the hill, I can lie down and relax or I can run around and it’s so fun.

James Year 2


I like dressing up and dancing to the music. The Year 1’s are the audience and I teach them how to dance. Then they had a go at doing it.

Alyssa Year 2


I made a den using the fence. Then I found two sticks and stuck them into the floor. I made sure they were secure and then attached the material to the fence and sticks.

Khyann Year 2


We didn’t used to have much equipment but when we started OPAL I felt really happy.

Faye Year 5


We’ve got loads of equipment and we get to use the whole space.

Alfie Year 5


People make more friends with OPAL because they share the things and get to know each other better.

Lily Year 6


Who doesn’t want to play in Mud?

Alfie Year 5