Learning through play is one of the key principals of Early Years education. The areas of learning as outlined in the Early Years curriculum must be delivered through planned, purposeful play, with a balance of adult led and child initiated activities. High-quality provision helps children to develop positive dispositions which lay the foundations for becoming motivated and lifelong successful learners. High-quality provision should challenge children, whilst maintaining high levels of engagement. The implicit challenge can be achieved when the learning environment is structured and resourced based on what children can already do and their next steps for learning. Open-ended resources and experiences encourage children to investigate, explore, think and question. Challenge can also be explicit and comes through direction or request. Adults in the provision can prompt or ask children to complete a task in a very informal manner or it can be more formal and all children can be asked to complete a specific task.
At NAIS Pudong we strive to ensure that our children are appropriately challenged at all times. We feel confident that all children are challenged through carefully planned adult led activities and we want to ensure that all children are equally challenged during child initiated play and that they can work independently, in the absence of an adult. After some research, we introduced a new concept into our Reception setting to encourage all children to seek challenges, ‘have a go’ and try new activities by completing planned challenges throughout the week. The Rainbow Challenges are planned purposeful play based learning experiences based on our assessments and the needs of the children in different areas of learning. Throughout the week children are encouraged to complete six different challenges and on completion, they can collect a coloured strip to add to their own rainbow cup. Each challenge has a different colour strip assigned and by the end of the week, the children should be able to make a rainbow with their six coloured strips. Challenges are differentiated to ensure all children can access the learning opportunities, take risks and succeed. The children are strongly motivated by the Rainbow Challenges and experience satisfaction and deep learning as they play. In their play, children are sustaining concentration for longer periods of time and are communicating with others to maintain and develop their play.