Continuous Provision in Year One, more dens… (and the best role play shoes I have ever seen)!

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I am working with a Network this week going into different settings and seeing what we can do to make good practice even better. Spent a great day yesterday in Greenbank, a school with an Nursery and 2 Reception classes. Lots of good stuff going on. I had several marriage proposals from some of the girls in Reception (children not staff) and saw the BEST pair of role play shoes in Nursery that I have ever seen. They were so fabulous I had to take a picture of them! (Are they yours Ruth?)

Ended the day by having a discussion with Year One about their Continuous Provision and how they use it to support learning in their classes. It was really good to see staff being so proactive about using CP.

Here are my top tips for making sure that your CP has impact on attainment and is not just a glorified holding activity! CP in Y1 should not be a 'choosing' activity that the children move on to once they have finished their 'proper ' work. It should be used as a method of teaching which is planned to have specific impact.

  1. Is your CP linked to assessment? Could you look at every activity in CP and be completely confident that it has been put out because you identified a need for it through assessment? Could you show me the assessment/observation?
  2. Have you 'dressed/themed' the activity to appeal to the children whose assessment identifies the need? So, if you have identified that you need to develop fine motor skills in a particular group of boys and you have put out an activity that is suitable for that development, how are you going to get the boys to choose it in CP? If they are into Ben 10, then you theme it to Ben 10. If they are into WWE then theme it to that.
  3. Don't feel obliged to theme your CP to your 'topic'. You are far more likely to get engagement if you go with children's interests
  4. Carry out an observation of your CP indoors and out and record who is actually using it and  whether it is meeting the need you identified. If not, change it!

The idea behind effective CP is that you minimise the risk of children reverting to low level, non challenging, familiar tasks when not being directed by an adult. You also want to maximise the potential for attainment and the best way to do this is to ensure that ALL of your areas of CP are directly linked to assessment and led by children's interests.

Today was a beautiful day in Liverpool and I was re-vising St Austins Primary  who opened their brand new Reception building in September.

IMG00389-20110322-1044It is a big, light and airy space which at the moment 3 classes share. Although you may be looking at it with a hint of jealousy, be assured a lovely space like this does not come without it's challenges, especially when you have to share everything including the noise that you make with your children.

Have to say though, the staff have got off to a brilliant start and it appeared to run like clockwork! They are all still finding their feet and getting used to the space and despite the 'newness' of it all, they are producing some great results.

I was there today to work with them on their outdoor area which they share at break times with Year 1 and Year 2. This means they have to tidy everything away when the others come out to play and then get it back out again! We are working on a plan for designated areas of outdoor CP that Y1 and Y2 can access during their breaks which will enhance their curriculum and allow for more continuity for Reception. It is exciting stuff!

Couldn't resist a bit of den making and introducing the children to the 'talking tube'. I really enjoyed myself as you can see!

 Rather than put a permanent fixing into the trees we wrapped them using 2 bungee bands around the trunk of each tree. This worked really well.

 I used a traffic cone to give the carpet inner tube better stability. This meant that we got a much higher den.

 Over the course of the day we ended up building 3 dens. The first heavily directed by me. the last completely done by the children. Once the last one was built the children decided they would like a story in the sun and a 'reading den' was born.

 The boys particularly liked the talking tubes, both inside and outside the den. Their topics of conversation were very funny. This sort of activity can eventually be enhanced by sending 'written' messages or images down the tubes.

  Hope the sun shone on you as well today!


5 Comments on “Continuous Provision in Year One, more dens… (and the best role play shoes I have ever seen)!”

  1. That is a tough one Nicki. Some people really need to see it working for themselves before they will put it into practice, no amount of asking (or telling) works. You could do with getting them to go into Reception as see how much positive impact it can have.
    Good Luck

  2. Hi Alistair
    I am Early Years, although this September I moved to a new school to teach year one. I share my class with another teacher and I am finding that there is a lot of resistance to using an ‘Early Years’ approach in their year one. I wondered if you could give me any tips on how to tackle (persuade) the teacher I work with and the SMT to incorporate some of the Early Years principles and practice in KS1? I have tried to use continuous provision but this is frowned upon after half term and it has not been as meaningful and enriching as I would like because I am only there half of the time.
    Thanks Nicki

  3. Great to read about your ideas. We too are developing year 1 and 2 outdoor area which is limited in space. Will be following your blog closely.
    Thank you

  4. Hi Alistair,
    Think I tried to comment before… but it didn’t appear to work so sorry if you get the same message twice!
    Anyway, I’m avid reader of your blog and regularly pilfer ideas for our own setting. Would love to get to one of your talks or PD’s one day but think it’s a bit too far to travel at the moment- I work in Phnom Penh, Cambodia… Unless of course you’d fancy bringing yourself out here!?
    Our outdoor environment has huge potential but is only utilised intermittently (great at the beginning of year but a bit ragged now!). We also share with Yr1/2 (Kindergarten/Grade1) and we talked about how they can use the outdoor areas as part of a CP ethos with their kids- work in progress.
    Am trying to set up a blog documenting our journey and would love your feedback if you get a chance to look at it.
    Thanks again
    The Other Bloke in Early Years

  5. Alistair I’m honoured to have a mention on your fantastic blog! We really did have a fantastic day with you yesterday- we had another meeting after school today to decided our starting points and I’ve also made a good start on a children’s voices display- including the hysteria over the mini milk cartons! Really hope we can have you in school again! Thanks again! Ruth

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