OPAL Comes to ASW

By the Grade Five Reporters’ Club: Izabel R. Leon P., Ariana L., Jiyeon L., Radik K., Haven K., Kajetan G., Adela G., Mert D., Arlo D., Rony D., Carlo C., Noam B., Iris B., Karolina A.

One of the most exciting changes at ASW in the last few years has been the introduction of OPAL: Outdoor Play and Learning. The Reporters’ Club met with ASW teachers and students to find out what has been happening with OPAL and what we have planned for the future. 

The OPAL reporting team.

According to Ms. Chestnut, you learn better if you play. According to Mr. Benson, “kids should be free to play and explore.” “It’s okay to have rough and tumble play,” he said, as long as no one gets hurt. 

According to Mr. Benson, OPAL started in Bristol, England in the UK. ASW has an 18-month contract with the founder of OPAL, Mr. Benson explained, during which our school will learn how OPAL works. According to Mr. Benson, ASW is only the 3rd international school with OPAL.

According to the OPAL website, St. Michael’s school in England has an OPAL playground that includes a seaweed pond. 

According to Ms. Chestnut, in the future there will be more digging areas as part of OPAL, and Mr. Benson said they want to make a bigger cozy village. Both Ms. Chestnut and Mr. Benson talked about opening up more areas in the forest to walk and climb trees. Arlo agrees that she would like “more space in the forest area.” 

The newest OPAL project is that the 5th grade is painting a mural on the shed with the help of the design center.

Many ASW students had new ideas for OPAL at our school. Iris said that she thinks there should be more tire swings on the playground. Both Karolina and Adela said they most like the digging area, and Ariana would like to see more loose parts added to ASW’s OPAL. According to Rony, the “best thing about OPAL is the messy kitchen.” 

Radik said that there should be 1 000 000 more scooters for OPAL, while Mert said his favourite thing about OPAL is investigating. Carlo said he likes that he can do whatever he wants to do during OPAL. “I like the fact you can use your imagination,” he said. According to Leon, “the only limits are your imagination and the resources.” 

Izabel likes that “everyone can do what they want to do.”

Kai really likes the soccer pitch and basketball court.

One bad thing has happened to OPAL at ASW. On a calm afternoon in November, somebody broke the doors and windows of the cozy village. According to Mr. Benson, we need to make sure kids don’t break stuff and that we can talk about what happens during OPAL.

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