The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
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 the age of 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, school reception classes and childminders registered to deliver the EYFS must follow a legal document called the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.
The EYFS Framework exists to support all professionals working in early years 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.
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 seven areas of learning and development. Children should mostly develop the three 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 four specific areas. These are:
Literacy Mathematics Understanding the world Expressive arts and design
These seven 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 is suitable for very young children, and is designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child’s unique needs and interests. Through the EYFS, children learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking, which takes place both indoors and outside.
To read more about the EYFS, please visit www.foundationyears.org.uk
Literacy Mathematics Understanding the World Expressive Arts and Design
Research into early child development shows that children learn more rapidly during their first three years than in later life; whilst all areas of learning are important and inter-connected, the three Prime areas that are crucial and the bases for children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, building their capacity to learn and form relationships and thrive. The specific areas will enable them to be self-motivated learners to become confident to succeed.
Communication and Language
Involves children being provided with the opportunity to experience a language rich environment; develop confidence in expressing their wants, needs and feelings and being able to speak and listen in a variety of contexts.
Involves children being encouraged to be interactive and active in their learning and develop control, coordination and movement. They are supported in understanding the importance of physical activity and how to make informed healthy choices at meal times.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Involves supporting children in developing a strong, positive sense of themselves, and of others; form strong attachments and relationships and develop respect for others to develop their social skills and learn how to effectively manage their feelings. This area also supports the children in understanding appropriate behaviour and develops confidence in their own abilities.
Encourages children to link sounds and letters and begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials to ignite their interest.
Encourages opportunities to develop and improve counting skills, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems and to describe shapes, space and measures.
Understanding the World
Involves supporting children in making sense of the world around them and their community by providing opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive Arts and Design
Enables children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as encouraging the sharing of thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology.
When planning and guiding activities practitioners will reflect upon the different ways that children learn and ensure they use this within their practice. The Characteristics of Effective Learning are:
Playing and Exploring
Supports children's engagement and investigation and to experience things through being willing to 'have a go'
Supports children's motivation to learn by helping develop their concentration, ability and will to keep trying when challenges occur and celebration of completing a task.
Creating and Thinking Critically
Supports children's thinking skills through developing ideas, making links between differing ideas and create strategies for completing a task.
The EYFS emphasises that parents are the child's primary educator and therefore encourages parents to contribute to their children's learning through partnership working.