Quality Learning Environment
Rich environments have an immediate effect on the quality of children’s learning and development. Our aim is that the environment is comfortable, interesting, attractive and appropriate for the children who use it. For some children it becomes like a second home where they eat and sometimes sleep. The unit is attractive and we aim to make children feel safe, secure and happy. The foundation unit provides a place where children can confidently play, learn and become independent.
The indoor space is carefully planned but is flexible to accommodate children’s changing interests and needs. Resources are of high quality and are accessible by the children. The reading corner is a place where children can transform themselves into the world of stories. The books are attractive and well maintained and reflect children’s fascinations. Resources such as blocks for building with, felt pens, chalks or pencils for mark-making, clothes for dressing up in and small items such as cars, dolls and jigsaws should be accessible by children themselves.
The foundation unit provides high-quality, open-ended resourcing where the environment responds to young children’s needs, natural desires and interests. It has defined spaces where the children can access different types of play provision
The carefully planned environment means that children can be encouraged to focus, with minimal distraction from other areas of the room and the learning environment.
Continuous provision refers to resources that are there all the time, and this is often informed by what children would naturally do with a particular resource, e.g. sand, water, small world, construction and role play. Children are encouraged to access the resources freely and put things away after use to ensure the environment is kept safe for all to use. The well-presented resources are enticing, intriguing and engaging. This helps practitioners demonstrate to children that their choices are valued, and thoughtful organisation supports them as they play.
At certain times of the day the children congregate in larger groups, and a number of gathering points planned to facilitate this including, phonics time, snack time, maths meetings and other whole class learning sessions.
Role of the adults
One of the most important resources in the environment is the role of the adult. Adults are highly trained to observe and facilitate children’s play without taking over their ideas/play.
Adults actively teach children how to use the resources carefully and model the use of new language related to the children’s learning and revisit previously new language.
Children gain enormous benefits from learning outdoors. At Crowle Primary the children have access to outdoor space on a daily basis – regardless of the weather (except extreme weather). Being outdoors allows them to move around without many of the restrictions of being inside. They can fill their lungs with clean air and use all of their senses to appreciate the colours, different noises, sense of space and of scale. Being outdoors supports confidence and allows opportunities for big scale play, problem-solving and creativity in the company of other children. Physical activity is enhanced as is calculated risk taking. In the outdoors, children’s use of language is five times greater than indoors. The children enjoy a variety of resources including; old tyres, logs and crates along with various resources in themed sheds. The resources stimulate imagination and can be used in a number of ways. A sheet can become a den, or a cape, dress or picnic blanket. The flower pots, hanging baskets and herb garden/wild area give contact with the natural world. The outdoors supports active learning and when balanced with quiet areas for reflection can really enhance children’s learning.
At Crowle primary the outdoors is organised in a similar way to the indoors, provision is grouped into learning sheds and children freely access the resources that they require in their learning and play.