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  • Torver Crescent, Seaburn Dene, Sunderland, SR6 8LG Tel - 0191 5634100

OPAL and Outdoor Learning


At Seaburn Dene Primary School, our learning goes beyond the four walls of the classroom! 

Outdoor time often provides the most memorable learning experiences and helps children to make sense of the world around them by putting their learning into a meaningful context.

Being outdoors has a positive impact on children’s sense of well-being.  It offers opportunities for exploring learning in different ways and on different scales than when indoors.  It gives children first-hand contact with weather, seasons and the natural world and offers them freedom to explore, use their senses and be physically active!

We are extremely fortunate to be in close proximity to the beach, as well as being set in large grounds which will positively enhance our educational provision. We are developing this area and phase 1 will start soon. Our Early Years and Key Stage 1 classrooms allow for secure indoor-outdoor education.

Opportunities for outdoor learning will be planned  to enhance our curriculum, as well as to develop personal and social skills, communication, problem solving, thinking skills and teamwork.


Golden Welly Winners

OPAL - Spring and Summer 2024

OPAL Launch - Autumn 2023


Here at Seaburn Dene Primary School, we are committed to ensuring quality play opportunities are available to all our children. We believe that play is essential for physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development of each child. Most of our best childhood memories are from playing outdoors, climbing trees and exploring the wide world around us. OPAL gives us the opportunity to give those memories to your children. OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) is all about using naturally and man made resources to allow children to be inspired and creative at playtime. Thanks to support from the Friends of Seaburn Dene and our school community, we started our OPAL journey in Autumn 2023. Look out here for news and updates.


What does this mean for us?


  • Happier children
  • Children coming into class ready to learn
  • A fully inclusive playtime offer
  • It allows children an opportunity to be creative and make decisions
  • Children develop independence and resilience skills
  • Increased social skills
  • …. and most importantly fun!

OPAL News - Autumn 2023


November 2023


OPAL Update
We have had a really successful meeting with our OPAL working group and Play Team this week.
* We are working on adding more resources into our loose parts, thanks to donations from businesses and parents, including the Royal Navy.
* We will be creating outdoor wellie storage for after Christmas, so children can keep their wellies in school.
* We have put two bids in for additional wellies and all-in-one suits.
* We will be developing next: art zone, music/dress-up zone and small world.
* We will be holding our second play assembly next week for the children.

It's amazing that items which may be discarded can be turned into dens, swings, costumes, sculptures and much more. And we're also helping to reduce, reuse and recycle!
If you have any of the following items, we'd love to have them in school:
Kitchen utensils- ladles, large spoons, whisks
Containers- mixing bowls, cake/muffin tins, pots, pans (no glass or ceramic)
Milk crates - plastic
Pallets - wooden, unbroken.
Plastic tubing / pipes
Guttering, including connectors
Rope / ties
Water butts
Cable reels
Garden storage- shelving, containers (must be able to last in all weathers)
Pairs of wellies- sizes suitable for ages 4-11
Waterproofs- trousers, coats, all in ones for ages 4-11
Aprons - waterproof such as those made from PVC
Suitcases / briefcases
Logs / branches
Tyres - we need around a dozen old tyres, so if you know any friendly, local garages who could help, a friendly word would be handy!

You can bring your items in at any time across the school day and leave them on the bike storage area on the main yard. Alternatively, they can be dropped off next to the bin storage area (near to the back of the Yr 1 classroom.)

Where next?
The OPAL Team is always thinking about our next steps. Some projects we currently have in mind for the next half term are:
Welly store for the main yard
Mud kitchen
Den building and digging area
Sand play

OPAL - November 2023

Our OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) Journey begins in earnest this half-term. Read (and watch) what this could mean for Seaburn Dene.

Amazing Primary Playtime at St Michael's OPAL Platinum School

This video was shot over one 45 minute playtime at St MIchael's Catholic Primary School in Surrey after 18 months of working with OPAL Outdoor Play and Learning using the OPAL Primary Programme.

Outdoor Classroom Day 2022-23