Last Friday, we celebrated all things 'play' with a fantastic afternoon outdoors. Every child was given the opportunity to be outside and choose how they would like to play. This was an amazing chance for them to explore new areas and equipment and just have fun! It was also the perfect afternoon to open the new sand pit which the year 6 children and staff members have worked hard to create.
All staff joined in and it was such a positive experience to have the whole school together with the children taking the lead in their chosen activities. We witnessed den building, mud cooking, cricket challenges, hunting for buried treasure, group reading, race car driving, dance-offs, waterfall making and lots of inspiring role play 🙂
It is lovely to see the children back after the half term break and it certainly seems like winter weather is truly upon us. In the OPAL newsletter sent out at the end of the term, I discussed how we will be embracing this change in season and all the fantastic opportunities it offers our children to continue their outdoor play. This will be a big shift and definitely involves a change in mindset for children, staff and parents and carers. We are very aware that this will take time to achieve but truly believe in the benefits this will bring for the children's physical and mental well-being.
I mentioned that it would now be amazing if all children could keep in school suitable wet weather clothing (in a plastic bag) and a change of footwear for wetter playtimes. This can just include their normal wet weather coat, wellies or other outdoor shoes that can get muddy, socks and a pair of waterproof trousers (if they would like them). These items should be labelled and will be kept in the children's lockers as they are now less packed with PE kits 🙂 We will have facilities to dry/store muddy coats and shoes in the classrooms so please do not worry about wet and muddy clothes being put back in the lockers. However, if children's clothing really is very dirty, they can bring it home in their plastic bag to be washed and returned when ready. In addition, as the temperature drops, it would also be great if children came in with hats/gloves as they normally would. Again, these can be laid out to dry in classrooms if very wet.
As with our normal uniform, any donations of wet weather clothing/footwear that we receive will be sold at our pre-loved sales. If you have any worries/concerns regarding wet weather clothing please contact Mrs Elks (email@example.com).
Going forward, all children will be given the option to go outside to experience all play areas (forest school, active, AWP, water play etc) even when wet - unless there is a specific health and safety risk. This will be for break and lunchtime. However, if children really do not wish to be outside in certain conditions there will be an indoor play option for them.
As we begin this process, we will continue to update you and share how the playtimes are progressing. All information will be sent out via our OPAL newsletters - please make sure you read these and get in touch if you have any questions.
This coming Friday we will be having a whole school outdoor play afternoon to celebrate Outdoor Learning Day (this has been changed from Thursday 2nd). If possible, it would be great if all children had suitable outdoor clothing for this day. However, please do not worry if not as we will have indoor play options available for those that do not want to go outside and spare clothing for those that do and do not have anything in school.
As always, thank you for your support as we continue this journey. I very much hope to share lots of fantastic pictures of the children's playtimes going forward!
OPAL (Outdoor Play & Learning)
Working with staff, governors, children and our families, we have one simple aim:
AMAZING PLAYTIMES FOR EVERY CHILD EVERY DAY!
We are proud to say that we are an OPAL school and are working to deliver the best playtimes we possibly can to our children.
OPAL is an award-winning, mentor supported programme that is supporting us to improve the quality of our play opportunities. OPAL is the only programme of its kind that has been independently proven to sustainably improve the quality of play in British primary schools.
Our school vision is that every child at Minster flourishes throughout their time with us – ‘Nurturing Foundation, Flourishing with God’. Minster children are supported to develop as a person and a learner. They are encouraged to develop a love of the world around them and appreciate creation with awe and wonder. We believe a positive play experience enhances a child’s emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.
Our Play Policy details how we run our playtimes.
For more information please contact Mrs A Manning (Curricular Lead for Play) or Mrs H Elks (Play Co-ordinator) – firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com