While those working in the Early Years and Foundation Stage sectors will be sick to the back teeth of the phrase Continuous Provision, those working with older students will not be so familiar. Continuous provision is one of the staples of early years teaching and simply refers to the constantly available activities by which children learn through play and exploration. This article will try and provide you with some sources of inspiration if you are one of the chosen few who must come up with endless activities for the smallest of our learners, as well as take a look at how the principles of Continuous Provision might apply to older students, even as far ahead as GCSE.

Older Learners

Secondary school teachers often struggle with how to provide meaningful extension work without having to invent two lessons for every one you teach. So, take inspiration from Continuous Provision and have a series of tasks and activities available in the room at all times that can be dipped in an out of by students who have achieved the learning objective. You can make then connected to a topic, or just connected to specific learning objectives that have been identified as a class priority in your AfL. Not only will you encourage the extension and independence of your class’ learning, but you will be making visible your opportunities for extended learning, independent thought and embedded AfL in one fell swoop. Wins all around.

Solutions to Common Issues

One way to avoid the possibility of students deliberately taking their time over tasks to avoid ‘having to do extra work’ is to make the extension activities seem like a reward. Use the resources and environment to turn learning into a game. Perhaps you have iPads available? There are many quality learning games, as well as e-books and websites that can be utilised and planned into your extension tasks. In fact, last week, we posting a blog about the best apps for the classroom, so take a look at that for inspiration.

One issue many EYFS practitioners have raised is that some activities are simply more popular than others and so there are some tasks that are valuable in terms of development that do not get as used. We asked one teacher how they deal with this issue and she said that she simply makes the least attractive task be the most visually appealing, therefore evening the playing field. Of course, at the moment that means decorating it with anything remotely connected to a certain film, but you can also tap into any other interest the children in your group have.

Another issue is planning. Often the tasks are set up, and the objectives recorded on the planning and then without adult intervention, they children don’t actually do the tasks that you planned for. One way to guide the children toward the desired task is to have visual prompt cards next to each station, to suggest gently what can be done.

For more Continuous Provision Ideas, check out these links:

  • http://www.zut.org.uk/ is free after 4pm for MFL activity inspiration
  • http://nrich.maths.org/6670 provides some ideas for investigations in secondary Maths that will encourage critical thinking
  • http://goo.gl/rZtWda is one of many great Pinterest boards full of early years ideas
  • And of course, for the EFYS staff, your school can purchase the EYFS Framework and all its accompanying publications in paperback format here, to avoid trawling through the online version, saving your time and your printing allowance!

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