The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a single quality framework to support children’s learning and development from Birth to 5 years (end of child’s reception year).

The framework recognises that there is a developmental continuum for children and this is reflected in the development and learning grids.

The EYFS brings together documents practitioners are currently working with to ensure good practice across the age range.

This means from September 2008 all providers offering care and education to children aged 0-5 outside of the family home will be working to the same framework and standards.

The framework is based on four Themes and Principles and supported by 16 commitments. It recognises children as individuals and competent learners. The EYFS is delivered through a well planned play based approach to learning and development.

So what does this mean for you and your child?

For all children learning begins at birth. The EYFS will help practitioners provide appropriate play experiences to enable your child to develop in all areas. It will enable practitioners to recognise your child’s strengths and areas where they need more support to develop new skills. For young children it is important that they are made to feel safe and secure in their surroundings. This is aided by having a ‘Key Person’ within the setting who gets to know you and your child well and builds a positive relationship with you both.

The EYFS means that wherever your child is being cared for or educated between 0-5 years they will be following the same set of principles, they will be offered a ‘principled play based approach to learning and development’. Young children learn best through play and Early Years Practitioners will be able to provide your child with appropriate play and learning experiences for their stage of development and help them develop new skills.

The activities that are provided for young children will underpin the skills they need to work towards the Early Learning Goals in the following areas at the end of their reception year at school:

  • Communication, language and literacy
  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Problem solving and reasoning
  • Creative development
  • Physical development
  • Knowledge and understanding of the world

All areas are of equal importance and many activities will cover several areas. Each area is divided up into stages of development and practitioners are able to identify resources and learning opportunities for individual children dependent on their developmental needs.

The EYFS also encourages practitioners, parents and carers to work together to help children develop to their full potential. For you this means, the opportunity to input information about your child’s development, also if your child attends more than one setting, for example, a childminder and an Early Years setting, they are encouraged to discuss your child’s development and work together to provide a cohesive care package for you and your child.

If your child has a Special Educational Need and/or disability additional information is imbedded in the EYFS to enable practitioners to target work specifically and help children to progress.

If you have any further questions about the Early Years Foundation Stage, please contact Victoria Ilott or call 01242 253222.