A deeper understanding of what continuous provision planning is
There has been mixed views on continuous provision planning, some people say it is very time consuming where as others find it more effective in planning for children’s individual needs.
Practitioners need to fully understand what continuous provision is. It is not just the provision that should be accessible, it is also all about what resources have been added to the areas of continuous provision that will allow the continue of learning in the absence of a practitioner.
When it comes to completing your planning, it should be linked very closely to children’s assessments/observations. What you would do initially is add open ended resources to each area of continuous provision, allowing children to investigate, explore and use their thinking skills. You would then add further resources to the areas that are linked to children’s interests or observations, by doing this it will encourage children’s engagement and this will then move children on in their learning and development.
Practitioners should ensure that resources/experiences or activities added to the areas should challenge children as this will help them make a progression in their learning
With regards to issues that have arisen about continuous provision eg what you write on your planning children don’t actually do. The key to helping overcome this is to reverse your thinking and think about what the children will do when an adult is not there, if you find yourself answering no to some of your planning ideas then it may be worth rethinking the ideas.
With regards to adding specific objectives to your areas of your provision again you may find that children do not do this, so be mindful of what you are asking the children to do. Adding objectives to areas is not seen as continuous provision these are adult focused activities within an area of continuous provision. Having an adult focus might be considered when you feel that the play would benefit from support and challenge, it is also used when you are concentrating on a skill for children to investigate and explore for example you may have enhanced your creative area with a skill focus on printing.
When it comes to deciding on your planning format, there are many available for you to consider you will need to find one that best suits your needs.
Some settings use the method ‘what’, ‘why’ format, this is a simple overview of your continuous provision. The format can be as simple as a grid where each box becomes an area of your continuous provision. In the box under ‘what’ list what you have enhanced that area with for that week and then in the box ‘why’ you would make reference as to why you have added this.
If you are adding an adult focus this can also be added to the planning format sheet
Always remember that the area is not an area from the EYFS, it is an area within your room. You will find that by using continuous provision planning you will use an area of provision as a facilitator for another area of learning.
On your planning sheet you may have an objective and an enhancement Column, within this Column you will identify
- Area of learning from the EYFS
- Focus for the adult to enhance if required
- Objectives that your continuous provision in that areas has been planned to support
In the enhancement column you will list the resources you are adding to each area to enhance the learning opportunities, you may also add any differentiation and challenges.
It may be best practice to carry out the planning process as a group, this will enable all adults to provide input and share their key children’s interest and assessments.
With regards to your planning format, see what works best for you as you may find ways of simplifying it but still achieving the same objectives.
Another example of a planning format