Thomas Willingale School and Nursery

Opal Playtimes

Spring 2 week 1 - W/c 26.2.2024

We have had another successful week with OPAL playtimes. Even during this awful rainy weather, the children have been out busily playing, the mud kitchen has been in full flow as have all the other activities.  Our field has been used every day, tyres have been rolled, assault courses made and challenging paths navigated along the logs. 


This week we had an outside observer come to see how we were getting on.  They were extremely impressed with the atmosphere of the outside areas and happiness shown by the children as they engaged with their OPAL play.  


We have great ideas moving forward, please look at the latest flyer to see what we would love to collect!

Spring 1 2024 update - OPAL PLAYTIMES


Since introducing OPAL playtimes, we have seen a much happier and content cohort of children at our school.  When you walk onto the playground, the air is filled with laughter and music, the children are smiling and chatting away to each other or are deeply engrossed in an adventure with the small parts while wandering around our beautiful grounds.


So what do our playtimes look like now?


We have been very fortunate to have so many donations towards our playtimes, thank you all so much.  These donations have enabled the children to:


- play together making up stories and adventures using figures, dinosaurs, cars, prams and dolls etc

- build and explore using LEGO and other building items, use tyres and tree stumps to make obstacle courses and stepping stone paths.

- wheeled items such as the bikes, scooters and skateboards - where the children are able to zoom up and down our small slope on the playground and learn to be aware of others and give way.

- use of the sensory garden for those who wish to be in a quiet, stimulating environment

- ball use in the MUGA, where the children can play in a small area with a variety of balls

- use of the small grass hill on the field, where the children can run up and down, or try sledging with the plastic sledge

- stage area with radio and instruments, used by those children who enjoy performing with or to friends

- and finally our mud kitchen, which is used extensively for the creation of carefully prepared delicacies for friends!


We have only just started our journey and so far it has been an absolute pleasure to see the children using lunchtimes in this way.


Watch this space for information on the next set of activities we have planned for next term!






Autumn 2 2023 - Introducing Opal playtimes:



Dear Parents/Carers


Please see below the introductory letter to Opal Playtimes. This is a new and exciting playtime adventure we are starting with your children.

Also below is a parent guide - The Power of Playtime.


We are in the very early stages of this but we will be asking for your ongoing support in order to bring this to life.


Here are a few things you could do to help us to begin with:


  • Please ensure your child has a pair of wellies and outdoor clothing - including waterproofs. Christmas gifts could be useful for this.

(If you have any old wellies or waterproofs that you would like to donate we would be very grateful.) 


  • We are currently looking for donations of 'small world toys' - any of you that are having a clear out before Christmas please remember us!


Small world toys include:

small toy cars/vehicles


small dolls

small animal figures




Please only donate toys that are in good working order. 


We are now also asking for:

- Clean fabrics - old duvets, curtains, nets etc

- Old clothes including dressing up clothes

- Kitchen utensils - pots and pans - please do not throw anything away. 

- Soft suitcases and pushchairs (doll and human ones)!

- Balance bikes and scooters.

As we gain more and more storage we will start to gather more items.


We are hoping to transform your children's playtime experiences, if there is anything you feel you could help us with please do come and speak to Mrs Collins on the playground in the mornings.


Thank you in advance for your support and generosity. 

Please watch out for further requests of donations.