In this blog, Primary Year 1 teacher at La Côte International School Aubonne, Kirsty O'Brien, discusses why continuous provision is so important for children’s development in Early Years and beyond.
Albert Einstein once said, “Play is the highest form of research.” and, if this is to be deemed as true, then it makes sense to continue playing long after the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage!
Often, as adults, when we get a new technological ‘toy’ such as a phone we will say – “I just need to play around with it a bit to learn what it can do.”, and this is equally as true for our children who are learning to navigate social situations such as sharing, taking turns, vocalising their thoughts and much more.
It is important then, when thinking about our Year 1 children, that we ensure our practice is developmentally appropriate and the way that the classroom is organised is suited to the children we teach.
Piaget’s ‘four stages of cognitive development’ states that the preoperational stage starts around two years old and continues until children are seven years old. It is during this time that children learn to use language, think symbolically and represent their ideas using pictures and objects so it is vital that we provide them with opportunities to do this.
In Year 1, we have continuous provision activities out each week, which the children are able to access and explore throughout the day.
To ensure that these areas provide both valuable learning opportunities and challenge, they are well-planned and linked to objectives in the National Curriculum. Often the activities are planned according to the children’s interests, drawing them into provision that they might not often visit, such as collaging Pokemon characters in the Creative area.
At other times, the activities will consolidate learning from the previous week in subjects such as Maths or English, for example matching capital and lowercase letters on conkers.
Finally, areas such as role play and small world must not be forgotten as they are equally as important for developing language, imagination and social skills.