Good Continuous Provision will not only support adults in observing and interacting with children, it will also help to support and extend children’s learning when they are in play.
How our children are making progress through the Areas of Learning can help us in deciding on the Areas of Provision that we are going to introduce into our learning space.
With all of the settings that I work alongside, I ask them to talk me through why they have decided on a particular Area of Provision and how they envisage it will support their children’s development.
Constant reflection like this means that your learning space will evolve over time in response to the changing needs of your children.
Once we have established the Areas of Provision that we would like to put in place, we then need to ensure that the resources we provide within those areas support and extend the opportunities for learning and consolidation.
As part of this process it is really important to plan for skill development rather than ‘activities’.
For example, painting with squeegees is a really simple fun thing to do that not only introduces the children to a new paining technique but also helps with gross motor movement, grip, hand eye coordination, balance, cross body motion, proprioception…the list goes on (it is especially impactive if the children stand up rather than sit down).
I got my squeegees for 99p each – so it was also very cheap.
The children were squeegeeing (is that even a word?!) on a horizontal surface.
At this time of year I might highlight to the children that some of the paint that was available is similar to the colours of the Autumn leaves that we had been talking about, but I would not limit them to an Autumn pallet, just because I had been talking about Autumn.
The objective of my introducing the children to squeegees is not so that they can demonstrate their understanding of Autumn by carrying out an unrelated paining activity using Autumn colours! It is to introduce them to the technique of using a squeegee as a painting/mark making tool.
I want the children to acquire skills that they can then go on to use in their independent creative work and play, not just to take part in a topic linked ‘activity’.
In that respect I would be introducing the squeegees as an enhancement to my Continuous Provision in my ‘Painting’ or ‘Creative’ area.
I would be encouraging them to experiment with the tool in any way they wanted.
Now that I have introduced them to using the squeegee as a tool, it makes no sense to take it away.
If I had done this as a ‘Squeegee in Autumn Colours’ activity then there is a big risk that I would have packed the squeegees away until next Autumn when we do the activity again.
The squeegee must become part of the Continuous Provision so that the children can rehearse the skills that that have learnt and extend their understanding of them.
Whatever you do with them have fun squeegeeing!