Continuous Provision

Continuous or Enhanced Provision?

Continuous Provision or Enhanced Provision?

For me…

⭐️ Continuous Provision refers to the resources and learning areas that are available all the time.

⭐️ Enhancements are things that you add into those areas to promote engagement, link to a theme or book or as a way of addressing identified needs or areas of focus.

An example would be ‘CREATIVE’, where the CP is the different paints available for the children to self serve and use. However this week you ENHANCE the area with some mirrors and different skin tone paints to explore. An adult may model creating portraits and self portraits using the equipment available through engaging and interacting with the children. You might leave these things as an enhancement for a few weeks for the children, you may extend this to look at mixing colours for eye colour, hair colour, etc and then you may leave the mirrors and alternative paint colours for the children to continue to use and explore. These enhancements become a part of your CP and the cycle continues.

What are the skills in Continuous Provision?

The skills of continuous provision

For some time, but particularly in light of the new EYFS Framework for September 2021, I have been considering the skills involved in CP. How do we support all practitioners to enter into high quality interactions that drive learning forward? How do we ensure that children are accessing provision that challenges learning so that they do not “stagnate”?

I believe that the answer is in the skills.
Looking for what pure and facilitative skills are in each area allows for challenge and enables you to plan your provision and environment to challenge where the children are at.
This targeted skill based provision is also great in key stage one as you are able to develop high levels of challenge in your areas.

CP Plans

My CP plans are fully editable and reflect the pure and facilitative skills of the provision.

For example:


Pure skill: investigate the sandiness of sand
Facilitative skills: fine & gross motor (digging, moulding, pouring, etc) & a long list of other skills which are developed through sand play

What is the role of Common Play Behaviours in planning Continuous Provision?

Common Play Behaviours

What is Continuous Provision?

How do I get children to “learn through play”?

Do I just put out stuff for them to access?

I’m not afraid to admit…. after completing my NQT and RQT years in upper key stage 2, the move to reception 9 years ago was a shock 😳

Every area was “enhanced”, everyday, often with reading, writing or maths skills and used as a holding activity for children whilst I interacted with a group or did some focus teaching and it wasn’t working!!

Earlier in this blog, I talked about the skills of CP, which was my first step in getting CP right. The next step was to explore how these skills fit into what the children would actually do in these areas- were they ever really fishing for letters to make cvc words? Or were they exploring the movement and transportation of the water, water trajectory and how to fill containers? It was definitely the latter!

So, coupled with the skills breakdown for each area, I started to think about “Common Play Behaviours”, something I was lucky enough to hear the fantastic Alistair Bryce- Clegg talk about 🤩! This allowed me to not only consider the skills of each area, but also then break down the provision into a hierarchy of resources to provide which encourages higher level skills, which in turn leads to increased engagement. The environment becomes the third teacher.

Environments in Continuous Provision

Resources are:

  • Readily available
  • Self selected
  • Challenging
  • Engaging

This doesn’t mean that when children are accessing painting- I stipulate what resources that certain children must access… however I may model the use of higher level resources or skills in the environment so that children can then develop these skills without me when they next access the paint.

The CP plans I have created detail the common play behaviours in each area and the resources that will support and scaffold lower level skills and those that will extend. There are now CP Plans for both indoor and outdoor environments too!
They are fully editable so they can be used to reflect your provision and be changed termly/ half termly to reflect your children and environment.


What is enhanced provision?

Once you have set up your environment and resourced your areas, you’ve got your continuous provision- it is what is always available- it’s continuous.

Enhanced provision is what you use to enhance or improve those areas.
When I first started working in Reception, I used to run myself ragged trying to enhance every area, every day… it is firstly impossible and secondly led to children flitting between activities and not really engaging in purposeful learning.
Lots of experience and trial and error has led me to totally changing how I enhance my provision. I now use a much more targeted approach where I consider three main things:

  1. Theme
  2. Children’s interests
  3. Next steps/ Focus areas

Enhancements also remain set up for most of the week, with some tweaks, unless of course children are not engaging or things aren’t working.

To Enhance or Not To Enhance?

Really that’s up to you!
Enhancements don’t have to be all singing and dancing with beautifully printed and laminated resources, sometimes they are as simple as little bit of modelling or the addition of a new tool to the creative area.
I believe there are three key examples of an enhancement:

  1. 🌟 An enhancement linked to theme or topic
  2. 🌟 An enhancement linked to children’s interest
  3. 🌟 An enhancement linked to assessment of a child’s or group of children’s need

The key with enhancements is not to try and plan too many. It needs to be manageable for you and your team and not overwhelming for the children.

This is something I am still working on…

💜 I know that in order to be meaningful, enhancing three or four areas a week is best. However, as a teacher, you always feel that you are not doing “enough” or should be enhancing every area. This is where, I think, we run the risk of having an environment which is more adult led and more like a carousel where children move around pre set enhancement activities rather than fully exploring the provision.

Download my CP Planning here. It takes into account, play behaviour, skill building, levelled resources and interactions. It will last you all year! And best bit is the plans are editable so they can be tweaked throughout the year!

I’d love to see pictures of your setting with my CP Planning in action- send them across to and I’ll share them across Social Media 😀