What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards for the learning, development and care of young children. The Early Years is defined as children from birth to the 1st September after their fifth birthday. This is a very important stage, helping get your child ready for school as well as preparing them for their future learning. Your child's early experiences should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure.
The EYFS guidance outlines:
Steps of a child's development
advice on the sort of progress I will be observing and recording
ideas for play and activities and how to plan and resource them
Early Years Foundation Stage Framework
The EYFS framework supports all professionals working in the EYFS to help your child. The framework was revised in 2012, to place more emphasis on the things that matter most. The new framework became statutory on 1st September 2012.
The framework sets out:
The legal welfare requirements that everyone registered to look after children must follow to keep your child safe and promote
their welfare the 7 areas of learning and development which guide professionals' engagement with your child's play and activities as they learn new skills and knowledge assessments that will tell you about your child's progress through the EYFS expected levels that your child should reach at age 5, usually the end of the reception year; these expectations are called the "Early Learning Goals (ELGs)". Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first:
Communication and Language (CL)
Physical Development (PD)
Personal, social and emotional development (PSED)
These prime areas are the most essential for your child's healthy development and future learning.
As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas:
Understanding the world (UW)
Expressive arts and design (EAD)
These 7 areas are used to plan your child's learning and activities. It's designed to be flexible so that your child's own interests can be followed.
Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outdoors.
How parents can help their child:
All the fun activities you do at home with your child are important in supporting their learning and development. Even when your child is very young and unable to talk, talking to them helps them to learn and understand new ideas. Even a short time evry day will make a real difference to your child's confidence as a learner.
Here are some examples of simple activities; you probably do many of the already:
Sing and tell nursery rhymes
Cook / bake together
Explore the park at different times of year
On a visit to the shops talk about all the different packaging shapes and colours
Share a book.
When your child is 2
At some point after your child turns 2 the professionals working with your child must give you a written summary of how your child is progressing against the 3 prime areas of learning:
Communication and language
Personal, social and emotional development
This is called the progress check at age 2
This check will highlight areas where your child is progressing well and any where they might need some extra help and support - and how families can help.
When your child is 5
At the end of the EYFS - in the summer term of the reception year at school - teachers complete an assessment which is known as the EYFS Profile. This assessment is based on what school staff have observed over a period of time.
All children are individuals; they do not learn and develop at the same rate. The EYFS gives guidance to help me plan the next appropriate steps in your child's learning. What your child needs next may not be the same as another child of the same age. I will do my best to ensure that each child participates in fun activities to help them achieve their individual goals.
You can find out more about the Early Years Foundation Stage at www.foundationyears.org.uk