Do you know what a provocation is?
This a term which has recently been circling early years forums and social media pages, however, this is actually an old term that originates from the Reggio approach. The most simple way to explain a provocation is something that provokes and invites learning, interest, creativity and thoughts. They allow children to freely explore, create and critically think.
You may think this sounds like things early years practitioners and teachers aim to achieve every day through the environment. Which may be true, however, a provocation should expand learning, interests and be truly inspirational sparking all children’s characteristics of effective learning. It should be open-ended and not forced upon the children through tick lists or expectations. The activity should be interesting and unique enough to invite interest and provoke learning on its own with little direction from the adults.
How to create a provocation
A provocation for learning can be as simple as you like or as complicated as you like. If you are making a provocation as true to the Reggio approach as possible it is important to think of nature, creativity, natural resources, open-ended and projects. Bearing this in mind you might like to have set resources for this or base them around a group interest, topic or season. Some provocations may include:
· Rearranging old resources in a more open-ended, communication friendly, natural way.
· Transient tables or stations
· Investigation stations are a great provocation
· Adding books to provoke learning such as adding a book about patterns to the transient art table.
· Adding a photograph to an area such as a photo of a temple or famous structure to a construction set up
· Adding real objects to an area/table / station such as real flowers to the creative area
· Science activities are always a great provocation – These should have an open-ended element though such as adding food colouring and vinegar in pipettes to baking soda
· Loose parts areas, tables or settings
· Trips out to farms, museums, the outdoors environment etc…
· Treasure basket resources
· Real tools and materials
For further ideas and inspiration check out our Pinterest board!