Statement of Intent
At St Gregory's we passionately believe that young children learn best through play and exploration. Wherever possible we offer children the opportunity to experience real life events that are linked to their learning. Every day our children get the opportunity to be an artist, writer, mathematician, scientist, designer or a storyteller to name but a few! These play-based experiences enable the children to consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding and enable them to be become independent and resilient learners. Throughout the environment, both inside and outside, you will see busy children actively engaged in a wide range of activities that they themselves have chosen. Continuous provision supports and encourages our children and staff to have a lifelong love of learning.
In both our Early Years and Key Stage 1 classes the rooms are organised to promote and develop continuous provision. This continuous provision enables children to return to their explorations and consolidate their learning over the course of a day or a more extended period. It also allows children to make choices and initiate play without interaction with an adult.
Continuous Provision in Action in Early Years
The pictures below show some examples of children directing their own learning through continuous provision. Our Early Years children are provided with large chunks of child initiated learning throughout the day. This allows them to use what they know in ways that interest them. The role of the adults in this time is to support and question the children; making observations and pushing the learning on further. Our children have the opportunity to free flow between the classrooms and the large outside area. We provide these opportunities whatever the weather as we understand that children benefit from outside learning whatever the weather. There is a focus on the Prime Areas of learning as these are the building blocks for all future learning. As well as this reading and writing are promoted throughout all areas of provision. This ensures that the children's learning is purposeful and interests them.
Early Years Classrooms
The photos below show some of the areas in our Nursery and Reception classrooms. We also have an additional learning space called the Green Room where the children can access sand and water play as well as being a place to change into our wet weather and mud suits. All of the resources are displayed on open shelves so the children have free and easy access. The labelling of resources is used as a way to reinforce maths skills and as such nursery focus on containers with five objects and Reception ten. This is a great opportunity for the children to practise their counting skills. There are silhouettes underneath containers with photos so that children can easily and independently tidy up resources when they have finished using them.
Continuous Provision in Action in Key Stage 1
The pictures below show some examples of children directing their own learning through continuous provision. After learning about Florence Nightingale a group of children recreated a hospital ward in the outside area, whilst others where busy making medicine in the mud kitchen and another group of children created a model of a hospital using the resources from the block and small world area. Writing is promoted in all areas, for example after creating the model hospital some children wrote a set of instructions about how to do this others labelled a photograph of their model to clearly show the different parts. This means that children's writing is purposeful. When using the art area children plan what they are going to make and after it is completed they evaluate the end product. Children will often practise maths concepts they have been taught and they will often use the outside area to make up games that encourage counting, taking turns and teamwork.
'Water play is a fantastic activity for developing children's hand-eye coordination as they learn to pour, squeeze, stir and even paint with water.'
'Children can learn new skills, have fun, play and develop self-confidence by spending time in the garden tending to plants and growing their own food.'
'Engaging in imaginative play shows strong links to language development. Children are learning to communicate with each other verbally but also through non-verbal behaviours such as gestures, facial expressions and body language.'
'Fine motor skills involve the use of the small muscles that control the hand, fingers and thumb. They help children perform important tasks like feeding themselves, grasping toys, buttoning and zipping clothes, writing, drawing and more.'
'Small worlds, as well as being fun, are the ideal platform for nurturing children's imagination from a young age.'
'Learning outside the classroom activities are often authentic, hands-on, interactive and build on classroom learning.'
'A mud kitchen provides a space for children to retreat to for some time alone in a soothing sensory experience or to play with peers co-operating, communicating, negotiating and sharing.'
'Through their constructive play, a child will learn what will work and what will not. Trial-and-error is a great method in which to create structures and modify methods. Overcoming problems to build structures in a particular way will always aid creative thinking and problem solving skills.'
'Music can give children a way to express themselves, to unleash their creativity, to be inspired and uplifted, to relax and to relieve stress and tension.'
Key Stage One Classrooms
The photographs below show some of the different areas the children can access during continuous provision. The resources are labelled to ensure that learning opportunties are maximised even when children are tidying away e.g. the labels encourage the children to read numbers, place the correct number of objects into a pot, identify the properties of shapes etc. Labelling differs in the Year 1 classroom compared to the Year 2 classroom as labels are linked to the expectations for these year groups e.g. in Year 2 it may say 3 x 2 on a pot for the number of scissors needed whereas in Year 1 this may be written as 3 + 3 = 6. Enhancements are added in each area to supplement different topics and the children's interests.
Throughout Early Years and Key Stage One the children have daily opportunties to use continuous provision to enhance their learning opportunties and to develop their own ideas and interests. Opportunties are carefully planned to ensure progression from Nursery to Year 2 and staff have developed continuous provision plans for each area of learning.
Our Key Stage One children are introduced to weekly challenges where they can independently apply skills which have previously been taught. This allows children to demonstrate their understanding which in turn allows staff to plan the next steps in the children's learning journey. Within each phase the children are able to free flow between classrooms and the outside area to ensure access to all areas of provision.
Example of a Challenge
After reading the story 'Not a stick' the children's challenge was to collect their own stick and use their imagination like the character in the book to turn it into something else. The children turned sticks into boats, a digger, cars, a wand and even a lipstick. The children followed the pattern in the story to write their own sentences based on their pictures. Take a look at the children's independent work.