Developing an Enabling Environment in KS1
In this blog, Joanna Redfern, Executive Headteacher of All Saints CE Infant and Pre-School and Selston CE Infant and Nursery School in Nottinghamshire writes about how she and her KS1 team defined and developed an enabling environment that built on the EYFS and reflected the demands of the KS1 curriculum.
The first challenge was to define an ‘enabling’ Key Stage One learning environment. We wanted it to be calm and unrushed, whilst providing the rigour and stimulation children need to develop. With the support of EEx we re-configured our classrooms, considering themes such as light, space and colour. Financial assistance from the Diocese of Nottingham and Southwell enabled us to establish areas within the rooms and order new furniture to help define them. KS1 classrooms are invariably smaller than EYFS ones, so we had to make choices about the areas of provision to include. Having observed Year 1 children at play, staff agreed on the following:
Having planned these areas, we then considered resourcing. A visit to the KS1 classroom at the Early Excellence Centre in Huddersfield helped to inform our draft provision grids.
Over time these have become a progression document outlining the continuity of provision from Nursery through to the end of KS1, linking directly to National Curriculum objectives. For instance, in the Year 1 ‘Small World’ area, animals are grouped by type – mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians – meeting one of the science objectives. Provision is planned so that subject-specific knowledge and skills can be taught and learned through children’s self-chosen activity, rather than an adult-led session.
Enhanced provision is added to the learning environment where appropriate and planned carefully to help children develop new skills or knowledge based on teachers’ assessments of their next steps. It also links to the class topic (or ‘enquiry’). Recently Kat, the All Saints Year 2 teacher, has introduced provocations to her learning environment. These are open-ended, freely-chosen challenges or ‘interest boxes’, designed for children to investigate, practice and embed new learning.
The outdoor environment was not forgotten. Time spent outside enhances well-being and some of the learning opportunities it brings can not be replicated indoors. So, every class now has its own outdoor area, and despite tight budgets staff have managed to create inviting learning spaces with support from the wider community around the school. In the process we have discovered amazing skill-sets among parents/carers and in our staff’s families! We are now agreeing the progression of continuous outdoor provision, for completion this autumn.
Discover how we implemented The Daily Routine and ‘Plan, Do, Review’ on our next blog.
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Audit your KS1 provision and check if you have resources to support independent learning and enquiry and create a truly inspirational learning environment for your children.