Dauntsey Academy Primary School

What is Continuous Provision?


Children aged five or six want to learn. Moreover, they want to be active, autonomous and unique learners – exploring, discovering, creating and taking risks. In other words they want to play.

Anna Ephgrave.




At DAPS we passionately believe that young children learn best through play and exploration, this is why in year one, we have built on the excellent practice found in EYFS. Continuous provision sparks curiosity and promotes challenge in learning, allowing children to explore their own interests independently. It enables children to make choices and initiate play without interaction with an adult. In essence, continuous provision is learning in the absence of an adult.

Research by educationalists such as Anna Ephgrave and Julie Fisher and our recent attendance at Alastair Bryce-Clegg’s Excellence in the Early Years conference (November 2022) have inspired us to develop our play-based approach. Other research and our experience tells us that talking to adults and their peers is one of the best ways to accelerate educational achievement, therefore all areas of provision are designed to promote conversation in our children. Our provision has also been designed with our DAPS Golden Threads in mind: Enquiry, Legacy and Diversity. 


Our children are taught through a carefully planned blend of whole class lessons together on the carpet and small group work at the tutor table to enable their learning to be appropriately supported and challenged. Children also have time to demonstrate and deepen their learning in continuous provision which we call Discovery Learning time, supported by an adult. During this time, the children have continuous access to a wide range of resources indoors and outdoors which have been carefully selected to support their learning, allowing them to follow their own lines of enquiry. Our children are introduced to weekly challenges called Rainbow Challenges, where they can independently apply skills which have previously been taught. This allows our children to demonstrate their understanding independently which in turn allows staff to plan the next steps in the children's learning journey.  Areas of provision will often be enhanced to make links to adult led learning, providing opportunities for our children to practise and consolidate previous learning.



Every day our children get the chance to be a designer, an artist, a writer, a scientist, a musician, a mathematician, a storyteller, an athlete, geographer or historian. These experiences inspire the children to consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding and enables them to be independent, resilient learners who motivate themselves to take on the next challenge. Throughout the environment, both inside and outside, you will see busy children actively engaged in a wide range of activities that they themselves have chosen.

Our staff are often asked to support other educators who may be interested in learning more about this way of working.  

Continuous Provision in Year 1

Continuous Provision in Year 1 >>