This is a blog post written by Early Years specialist Sophie Pickles.
Sometimes deciphering all the different words in Early Years can be challenging – this blog post aims to decode some of the key phrases to help those new to the profession, or more experienced staff who fancy a refresher.
Continuous Provision – what does that mean?
The phrase ‘Continuous Provision’ refers to the resources and areas laid out in your classroom to provoke learning through play and exploration. The resources should be freely accessible to the children in the classroom during any designated ‘free play’ time and should stay the same throughout the school year. The continuous provision resources you provide in each area should be engaging and relevant. They should challenge and promote critical thinking and problem solving, while remaining open-ended.
Why don’t I need to change the resources in Continuous Provision?
The purpose of Continuous Provision is to provide a continuous and constant resource to allow children to explore their interests, start projects or consolidate learning. Children will often plan how they are going to play before they have even reached the school gates for the start of the day, and it is important that they can rely on the same resources always being available to them as they enter the classroom. With this in mind, the way you set-out and organise the resources in each area is of utmost importance, not only to encourage independence and for ease of tidying but to allow children the autonomy to start their own projects and investigations without the support of an adult.
What is Enhanced Provision?
If you wish to add extra elements or resources to areas of learning, maybe based around a topic or an interest, this is Enhanced Provision (sometimes also referred to as a provocation, focus activity or invitation to play).
What are the benefits of Continuous Provision in Key Stage 1?
Allowing children access to Continuous Provision and giving them the opportunity to play will not only allow them to consolidate learning that has been taking place elsewhere but also allow them the opportunity to explore new concepts, often before they have ever been taught formally. In essence, Continuous Provision in Key Stage 1 will be very similar to the resources and set-up you would find in the Early Years – the main differences being how the children will naturally access and use the equipment given their advanced maturity and understanding and the way in which adults scaffold learning and interact with the children as they play.
You may also provide equipment that encourages deeper level thinking – jugs with measurements on them, for example, or challenge cards in each area of learning.