Continuous Provision is at the heart of Early Years practice. Getting it right is the key to success. Get it wrong and we open the door to stagnation, lack of engagement, challenging behaviour and low attainment.
Effective continuous provision is open-ended, accessible, flexible, large scale and skills-driven. It is planned but only in a loose sense. An adult's plan isn't a child's plan. Children don't have to reach a specific outcome determined by the adult. Instead continuous provision should offer an index of possibilities. It should enable children to bring their magic with them into the environment and shape it. Equally it should create the conditions for collaboration and self-chosen purpose.
As soon as we apply rigid adult thinking to continuous provision we are in danger of fencing in its possibilities. Crossing the line into an ineffective environment usually happens when we think 'children will achieve this set outcome...' in a specific area. The more flexible we are, the more magic we will witness, and the more magic we witness, the more we will be able to use it to move learning forward.
Adult thinking should address the skills that children need to grow. It should focus on process as a means for rehearsing or strengthening these skills - a plan for skills rather than activity. I have created an effective approach to continuous provision that embraces child-centred play and open-endedness. It's called the 3Ms and it can enable us to establish a rich learning space that sings with the magic of children whilst at the same time meeting the demands of the Adult World...
If we look at the children in our environment and sense a lack of true playfulness or if our children seem disinclined to engage in 'learning' then the 3Ms approach holds the key to potential positive change.
You can discover the Co-Play Planning Pack below. It contains my approach to planning as well as a video tutorial exploring the Magic Mirror from 'School and the Magic of Children' - a potentially powerful reflective tool when considering how much we value the magic of children.