How To Analyse Your Provision
Reviewing your environment
Taking time to step back and look at your environment through fresh eyes is an essential part of reflection. During this time, we look for areas that are not being used and consider why? We consider how children access areas and resources and whether something could be added to enhance or taken away to refine. In reality this can be challenging as we see our environments in a particular way as we know them inside and out. Think about those times when someone points something out to you and you think ‘how haven’t I thought about that before?’ A fresh set of eyes can work miracles, they can see things differently or use objects for a different purpose. Reviewing your environment can become a crucial part of challenging your children – is there too much, not enough, is it age appropriate, does it relate to your current children, does it inspire them, does it respect and value them and does it challenge them? All these questions are what you need to be thinking about on a regular basis. The environment should act as a teacher in its own right. You cannot be with a child every second of the day, which makes the environment an imperative tool which children bounce off with new ideas, fascinations, language, discoveries and relationships.
What risks are currently present in your environment? Do you provide physical and emotional risks? (I’m fairly sure you do without realising) But are these risks still relative and challenging? Could there be more? Could you have more trust in your children?
Reviewing your resources
We know that everyday objects, loose parts, natural and reclaimed materials can be used to promote and provide opportunity for open ended opportunities, which includes risk and challenge. Two tyres and a plank can create a great climbing and balancing activity. The same tyres and plank can be moved to create a make shift slide. With adult support, levels and height can be explored by children who are willing to give it a go. Adding new and interesting textures to existing areas will open up opportunities for children to interact with unfamiliar objects and smaller, more intricate pieces. With the youngest children and particularly babies, regularly refreshing sensory baskets provides interesting textures to explore. Brushes with soft and hard bristles, fabric offcuts, CDS, shiny balls, interesting household objects, curtain pole rings… etc
Documents can be used as a practical tool to monitor environments. Audits can be created to suit your needs and ensure that there are enough opportunities for risk. You can also use documentation of children’s learning to establish their abilities, needs, goals and create a journey of where you started and where you are headed… sometimes the end goal may change and that’s fine!
Above all, reflecting with your colleagues is key to identifying the needs of you, your children, the parents and the setting as a whole. Take time to have those discussions about where you are now and where you want to be and what MIGHT happen in between.