What is the Early Year Foundation Stage Framework?
(Taken from Early years foundation stage statutory framework (EYFS))
Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a statutory government framework and is mandatory for all early years providers in England. It sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.
The EYFS seeks to provide:
- quality and consistency
- a secure foundation through learning and development opportunities
- partnership working
- equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice
The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. The learning and development requirements cover:
- the areas of learning and development which must shape activities and experiences (educational programmes) for children in all early years settings
- the early learning goals that providers must help children work towards (the knowledge, skills and understanding children should have at the end of the academic year in which they turn five)
- assessment arrangements for measuring progress (and requirements for reporting to parents and/or carers)
Four guiding principles should shape practice in early years settings. These are:
- every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
- children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
- children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers
- children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:
|Communication and language development||Giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations|
|Physical development||Providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food|
|Personal, social and emotional development||Helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities|
Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
|Literacy development||Encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest|
|Mathematics||Providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures|
|Understanding the world||Guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment|
|Expressive arts and design||Enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology|
Each child will be assigned a key person. Their role is to help ensure that every child’s care is tailored to meet their individual need to help the child become familiar with the setting, offer a settled relationship for the child and build a relationship with their parent. Providers must inform parents and/or carers of the name of the key person, and explain their role, when a child starts attending a setting. The key person must help ensure that every child’s learning and care is tailored to meet their individual needs. The key person must seek to engage and support parents and/or carers in guiding their child’s development at home. They should also help families engage with more specialist support if appropriate.
Ongoing assessment (also known as formative assessment) is an integral part of the learning and development process. It involves practitioners observing children to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles, and to then shape learning experiences for each child reflecting those observations.
When a child is aged between two and three, practitioners will review their progress, and provide parents and/or carers with a short written summary of their child’s development in the prime areas. This progress check must identify the child’s strengths, and any areas where the child’s progress is less than expected.
Parents have a really important role to play in the learning and development of their child. Everyday situations give opportunities to explore and discover. The setting will encourage parents to share the child’s ‘at home’ experiences and achievements. This may be in informal discussions at pick up time, or in written communication in diaries. This information exchange will help the setting plan for and support the child’s development. For example a family visit to a nature reserve or zoo may inspire an activity in the setting which can be reinforced with relevant activities at home.
If you still have some questions about the EYFS framework and the impact on your child you can speak to their Key Worker or the Manager.
The full framework can be found on the government website: