What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?
(EYFS) 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.
What is the EYFS Framework – why do we have one?
The EYFS Framework exists to support all professionals working in the EYFS to help your child, and was developed with a number of early years’ experts and parents.
In 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:
- 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)”
There is also guidance for the professionals supporting your child on planning the learning activities, and observing and assessing what and how your child is learning and developing.
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
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
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:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
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. Children under 2 will focus on the 3 prime areas initially during their development.
How will I know how my child is getting on?
During each academic year your child will receive 3 assessments completed by their key worker. These will be shared with you during a parents evening.
Parents evenings will give you the opportunity to discuss your child’s progress, highlighting their strengths, but also the opportunity to raise any concerns or areas of delay.
Alongside the key worker assessments, management will be keeping attainment grids to monitor all children’s progress. These will allow us support all practitioners with the children’s development.
Another important part of the EYFS Profile is your knowledge about your child’s learning and development, so do let your child’s key worker know about what your child does with you: such as how confident your child is talking about a favourite book, speaking to people your child is not so familiar with or their understanding of numbers. As parents have a huge knowledge of their child, Tapestry is the perfect, and easiest, way to share insights into a child’s development.
Please see the attached document (PDF) Parents’ Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework for more full details.