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Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is how the Government and Early Year’s Professionals describe the time in a child’s life between birth and age five.

Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.

The Early Years Foundation Stage seeks to provide:

  • Quality and consistency in all early years settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind.
  •  a secure foundation through planning for the learning and development of each individual child, and assessing and reviewing what they have learned regularly 
  • Partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers.
  •  Equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported.

Overarching principles 

Four guiding principles should shape practice in early year’s 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 with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
  •  Importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn 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 (SEND).

How will your child be learning?

There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early year’s settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.
Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.

Prime Areas​​
  • Communication and Language
  • ​​​Physical Development
  • ​​​Personal, Social and Emotional Development

We also support our children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. 

Specific Areas​​
  • Literacy
  • ​​​Mathematics
  • ​​​Understanding the World
  • ​​​Expressive Arts and Design

In planning and guiding what children learn, practitioners must reflect on the different rates at which children are developing and adjust their practice appropriately.

Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:

  •  Playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’ 
  • Active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements 
  •  Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things


Progress Check At Age Two 

When a child is aged between two and three, practitioners must 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 will identify the child’s strengths, and any areas where the child’s progress is less than expected. If there are significant emerging concerns, or an identified special educational need or disability, practitioners will develop a targeted plan to support the child’s future learning and development involving parents and/or carers and other professionals (for example, the provider’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) or health professionals) as appropriate.

Assessment at the start of the reception year – the Reception Baseline Assessment 

The Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) is a short assessment, taken in the first six weeks in which a child starts reception.

For full details on the Early Year’s Foundation Stage please clcik here.