We recently released 30 updated EYFS curriculum projects. Each one features directed activities, supported by ideas for continuous and enhanced provision. In this blog, experienced Early Years advisor and Cornerstones Director Melanie Moore shares her advice for getting the most out of your enhanced provision.
What is enhanced provision? If your answer is something along the lines of ‘It’s when themed resources are added to continuous provision’ or ‘It’s a way of adding more challenge to continuous provision’ then you’re probably on the right tracks.
One of the most challenging aspects of enhanced provision for any practitioner is finding an effective way of planning for it. Unlike planning for focused group work, you cannot always predict how children might interact with the resources you provide.
For example, you might plan in the maths area for children to ‘Use the play dough to make balls of different sizes and order them’. But of course, they would be equally as likely to just sit and squish the play dough between their fingers, with no sign of them making those balls and ordering them! And of course, just because you didn’t plan for that, it doesn’t mean that what the children do is not a valuable learning opportunity in itself.
So, if you would like a little help in planning and managing your enhanced provision, here are my top five tips.
1. Planning and preparing
Be flexible. Instead of thinking, ‘If I write this objective then this is what the children will do’, think, ‘How many possible ways might the children approach this activity?’ Keep your planning broad and varied and open to possibilities. For example, the activity below shows a number of possible Typical Behaviours a practitioner might observe as the children interact with the resources.
2. Cues and clues
Try to give more guidance on how you would like children to interact with the resources. Playing with the children is the best way to model this, or by giving a direct instruction using a label or Talking Button, for example, ‘Can you order the play dough balls from smallest to biggest?’ In Nursery, the use of picture cards can help communicate a challenge. See the task card below.
3. Get help from others
Remember to share your ideas and planning with other adults who will be working with the children. You can give them a copy of your planning or simply put it up on the wall for others to see. It doesn’t need to be long-winded – the Cornerstones continuous provision map below shows how weekly activities can be highlighted using different colours. You and other adults can annotate this with any further ideas for future provision that arise by watching children’s interactions and responses.
4. Use and reuse
Creating enhanced provision doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t always have to provide new resources. You can use familiar resources in different ways. This way, children will be confident in handling the resources and knowing their possibilities but be confident to use them in more challenging contexts. For example, the challenge below using familiar wooden building blocks is enhanced by the use of laminated images, recycled materials and loose parts.
5. Ideas and more ideas
It can be tough always thinking of new ideas. That’s why websites such as Pinterest are brilliant at just giving you the hint of an idea. You can of course also use a resource like the Cornerstones Curriculum, where each ILP has a thematic continuous provision map linked to the possible Typical Behaviours. And don’t forget to take photographs of your provision when you first set up, to keep a record of it. This is a great resource for others who may work in the Foundation Stage in the future, as well as helping you to remember some of your more fantastic ideas.
Cornerstones EYFS Curriculum
The Cornerstones EYFS Curriculum is a creative curriculum that gives you everything you need to create a stimulating, engaging and aspirational Early Years environment. It features 30 projects (15 Nursery and 15 Reception), all crafted and themed around children’s questions and the world around them.
Carefully designed with practitioners in mind, the projects providing a range of quality group and enhanced provision activities, along with suggestions for continuous provision and hundreds of high-quality teaching resources. The projects give children plenty of opportunities to practise and master the necessary skills needed to achieve the Early Learning Goals.
Click the image below to listen to our podcast with EYFS practitioner, Emma Reynolds, on how to make the most of your continuous and enhanced provision.