Trafalgar Road, Colchester, Essex CO3 9AS

01206 573519

Lexden Primary School

Community, Courage, Curiosity and Commitment

Welcome to OPAL!

What is OPAL?

The Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) Primary Programme is a mentor-supported school improvement programme. It addresses all of the areas schools must plan for if they want to strategically and sustainably improve the quality of their play opportunities.
The OPAL Primary Programme is the only programme of its kind that has been independently proven to sustainably improve the quality of play in British primary schools.

Research shows that play contributes to children’s physical and emotional health, wellbeing, approach to learning and enjoyment of school. Given the importance of play in children’s lives and current concerns about children’s health and opportunity to access time and space to initiate their own play outdoors, there are considerable benefits for children, parents, schools, and the wider community from participating in OPAL's programme. The OPAL Primary Programme supports schools in developing a cultural shift in thinking about and supporting children’s play. Its success comes from a series of interrelated actions undertaken with the specialist support from the OPAL mentor. This embeds play into school’s policies and practices and establishes clear guiding principles and strategies for initiating changes at playtimes. The results can be transformational and – at best – spectacular and show progress even in more challenging school environments.

What's next?

Next we are building a mud kitchen, stage, water and music area!

We are looking for donations of:

  • Suitcases of any size and type
  • Anything on wheels/castors
  • Plastic crates
  • Road signs and cones
  • Buckets
  • Nets and thick ropes
  • Fabric (large sheets/brightly coloured fabric)
  • Tarpaulin
  • Foam sheets/bodyboards/camping roll mats/yoga mats
  • Wooden pallets
  • Cable drums
  • Guttering
  • Noodles (the type you use in the swimming pool!)
  • Pegs (to help to set up dens)
  • Sledges
  • Scooters
  • Litter pickers

What's happening at Lexden?

We have had a fantastic start to our OPAL project! Here's what's been happening:

  • New OPAL shed named Shed Sheeran
  • Overalls available for the digging area
  • Our new small world storage
  • Wellie boots for all ages
  • Our new digging area

We launched Shed Sheeran with a  whole school signed rendition of 'Celestial' by Ed Sheeran!