Parents’ Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
What Is the Early Years Foundation Stage?
Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), this is how the Government and early years professionals describe the time in your child's life between birth and age 5.
This is a very important stage as it helps your child get ready for school as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. From when your child is born up until the age of 5, their early years experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development care and learning needs.
Nurseries, pre-schools, reception classes and childminders registered to deliver the EYFS must follow a legal document called the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.
Why do we have the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework?
The EYFS Framework exists to support all professionals working in the EYFS to help your child. From September 2012 the framework was revised to make it clearer and easier to use, with more focus on the things that matter most. This new framework also has a greater emphasis on your role in helping your child develop.
It sets out:
i) The legal welfare requirements that everyone registered to look after children must follow to keep your child safe and promote their welfare
ii) The 7 areas of learning and development which guide professionals' engagement with your child's play and activities.
iii) Assessments that will tell you about your child's progress through the EYFS
iv) 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
How will my child be learning?
The EYFS Framework explains how and what your child will be learning to support their healthy development.
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. These are:
Communication and language development involves 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 involves 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 involves 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.
These prime areas are those 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. These are:
Literacy development involves 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 involves 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 involves 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 involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing pportunities 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.
These 7 areas are used to plan your child's learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to your child's unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it's suitable for very young children, and it's designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child's unique needs and interests.
Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
How can I find out how mv child is getting on?
It is important that you and the professionals caring for your child work together. You need to feel comfortable about exchanging information and discussing things that will benefit your child. These conversations will be with your child's "key person", this is the person who:
i) Is your main point of contact within the setting
II) Helps your child to become settled, happy and safe
III) Is responsible for your child's care, development and learning through their learning journeys which consists of observations, photographs and your child's work.
IV) Takes a careful note of your child's progress, sharing this with you and giving you ideas as to how to help your child at home
You should be able to get information about your child's development at any time and there are two stages (at age 2, and again at age 5) when the professionals caring for your child must give you written information about how he or she is doing.
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:
I) At communication and language;
II) physical development; and
III) 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 or support - and how mums and dads and other family members or carers can work with the key person to help. You might find it useful to share the information from the check with other professionals such as health visitors (who can use it as part of the health and development review).
When your child is 5
At the end of the EYFS - in the summer term of the reception year in school - teachers complete an assessment which is known as the EYFS Profile. This assessment is carried out by the reception teacher and is based on what they, and other staff caring for your child, have observed over a period of time.
Information for parents on the new progress check at age two
1.1 What is the progress check at age two?
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requires that parents and carers must be supplied with a short written summary of their child’s development in the three prime learning and development areas of the EYFS: Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Physical Development; and Communication and Language;when the child is aged between 24-36 months.
1.2 What is the purpose of this document?
The EYFS sets the standards for development, learning and care of children from birth to age five. All registered early years providers are required to follow the framework from September 2012.
This document is intended to support practitioners within early year’s settings who are undertaking the EYFS progress check at age two. The
progress check has been introduced to enable earlier identification of development needs so that additional support can be put into place.
1.3 Development Matters
Development Matters sets out children’s developmental progression across the prime and specific areas of earning from birth to five years. It offers helpful material for practitioners to:
inform and support their assessment judgements of a child’s development in the prime areas
identify if there are any areas in which a child may be developing at a faster or slower pace than the expected level of progress for their age
inform and support their discussions with parents and other professionals (where relevant).
1.4 Aims of the progress check at age two
The aims of the progress check are to:
review a child’s development in the three prime areas of the EYFS;
ensure that parents have a clear picture of their child’s development;
enable practitioners to understand the child’s needs and plan activities to meet them in the setting;
enable parents to understand the child’s needs and, with support from practitioners, enhance development at home;
note areas where a child is progressing well and identify any areas where progress is less than expected; and
describe actions the provider intends to take to address any developmental concerns (including working with other professionals where appropriate).
1.5 Key principles
should be completed by a practitioner who knows the child well and works directly with them in the setting. This should normally be the child’s key person;
arises from the on-going observational assessments carried out as part of everyday practice in the setting;
is based on skills, knowledge, understanding and behaviour that the child demonstrates consistently and independently;
takes account of the views and contributions of parents;
takes into account the views of other practitioners and, where relevant, other professionals working with the child;
enables children to contribute actively to the process.