Tips and tricks for teaching the Innovate section of projects in the Cornerstones EYFS Curriculum

Every Imaginative Learning Project (ILP) in the Cornerstones EYFS Curriculum features an Innovate stage, one of four stages that make up our teaching and learning philosophy. We sometimes get asked for ideas about arranging and organising Innovate activities, so we thought we’d give you some options.

About the Innovate board

Every ILP has an Innovate board. We’ve made them really simple to read and follow and there are loads of lovely images to pique the children’s interests!

How you use the board depends on your setting and the maturity of the children. There are no right or wrong answers but we do have some suggestions to help get you started.

Take a look at the boards and you’ll notice that Nursery versions have less text and are simpler to follow. Reception boards have slightly more text and are longer.

Key features

Innovate board for both Nursery and Reception projects include the following.

  • Provocation – a simple question for you to read to the children and get them thinking.
  • Resource list – items you need to gather or prepare to help the children complete tasks.
  • Stepping stones – questions and tasks designed to guide and support children’s creative thinking and problem solving.

To help bring the boards to life, all Cornerstones schools with access to The Hub can download whiteboard versions from the ILP folders.

Everyone together!

At the start of your Innovate stage, invite the children to join in by projecting the Innovate board onto your whiteboard. You might like to use a puppet, soft toy or figure to introduce the provocation. For example, why not have a snake puppet to introduce the ‘Why don’t snakes have legs board?’

Listen to the children’s ideas and initial responses. How they react will help you appreciate their understanding of the task and shape it their specific needs and interests.

Getting going

There are several different ways you can approach the tasks set out in stepping stones around the board.

Some boards may lend themselves more to setting out activities as enhanced provision for children to tackle independently. The ‘Making a rainbow’ task in ‘How many colours in a rainbow?’ is a good example.

Some boards will be more appropriate for the children to do together or in groups, such as the pebble task in ‘How many pebbles on a beach?’ You may feel that some groups need adult support and others will be able to work more independently.

If you want to follow the children’s ideas and suggestions more closely, why not develop your own boards based on their interests?

Documenting the children’s learning

Remember to take plenty of photographs, video and notes during children’s engagement in the stepping stones tasks. Use them to reflect on how well the children were able to demonstrate the EYFS characteristics of learning.

Documenting children’s learning also helps them to share and celebrate their successes in the Express stage of the project. They can see, hear and watch what they’ve achieved, which will build their confidence and keep them motivated.

Got any tips?

How do you organise your Innovate board activities? Do you have any ideas or activities that worked well? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter, where we are @CornerstonesEdu.

Published by

Melanie Moore

Mel is Curriculum Director and the author of the Cornerstones Curriculum. She writes, edits and oversees all curriculum materials and leads our creative team. Mel has over 20 years of primary teaching experience, including as a deputy headteacher. She has also been a teacher adviser and a local authority strategy adviser.

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