Riverside Primary School and Nursery

Every child a happy learner

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Playtimes at Riverside Primary School are changing...

Amazing play, every day, for every child



May 2023


We are excited to announce that we have signed up to work with OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) on an 18 month project to improve our playtimes at Riverside.     


Research has shown that children spend 20% of their time in school playing. This equates to 1.4 years of their school attendance.


To ensure that this time and our fantastic school grounds are used to their full potential, from September 2023 our school will adopt an OPAL philosophy that allows the children freedom to explore play in their own imaginative ways, often using found and gathered resources in the natural outdoor environment as well as man-made items.  ‚Äč


We believe that play is essential for physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development of each child. An OPAL approach promotes a more inclusive play environment in which all children can feel comfortable to express themselves. Most of our best childhood memories are from playing outdoors, climbing trees and exploring the wide world around us. OPAL will give us the opportunity to give those memories to your children.  


Through this approach to play, children will not only be more active at playtimes, but they will also have the opportunity to further develop life skills such as cooperation, teamwork and problem solving. This will enable them to become motivated and enthusiastic builders, engineers, explorers and designers. 


Please click below to follow Our Opal Adventure. Watch this space for updates and photographs of our journey to develop play experiences for all our children over the coming months. 

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) promotes risky play

It is always a slight worry to parents and to staff who work with children when they are engaged in what could be described as ‘risky play’. We are programmed to try and stop anything which poses any kind of risk. Recent research has shown that this is not preparing our children to make their own risk assessments and overcome problems and challenges. The HSE agrees with this, stating that play which carries some risk is not only allowed but should be actively encouraged. Children, by law, have the right to play. Below is a link to the HSE report on why risky play should happen in schools:






Our Play Charter

Can you help? 

It's amazing that items which may be discarded can be turned into dens, swings, costumes, sculptures and much more! We're also helping to reduce, reuse and recycle smiley

If you have any of the following items, we'd love them in school:

  • Kitchen utensils - ladles, large spoons, whisks
  • Containers - mixing bowls, cake/muffin tins, pots, pans (no glass or ceramic)
  • Milk crates - plastic
  • Plastic tubing or pipes
  • Guttering, including connectors
  • Rope / ties
  • Water butts
  • Garden storage - shelving, containers (must be able to last in all weathers)
  • Pairs of wellies - sizes suitable for ages 4-11
  • Aprons - waterproof such as those made from PVC
  • Suitcases / briefcases of any size and type
  • Road signs, cones
  • Strong boxes with lids
  • Tools like spades, trowels and brooms
  • Buckets
  • Tarpaulin
  • Tyres (car) 
  • Cable drums
  • Pool noodles (the type you use in a swimming pool)
  • Pegs (to help to set up dens) 
  • Watering cans
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Umbrellas
  • Larger sized dressing up clothes 


You can bring your items in at any time and leave by the yellow OPAL bin at the main office.