What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?
Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which 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. The framework has been revised again with changes to the statutory guidance coming in to effect in September 2014.
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 My Child Will 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; and
- 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; and
- 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.
As a mum, dad or carer, how can I help with my child’s learning?
All the fun activities that you do with your child at home are important in supporting their learning and development, and have a really long lasting effect on your child’s learning as they progress through school.
If you’re looking for new ideas for things to do then find out what is on offer at your local children’s centre. Many offer ‘messy play’ activities which you and your child can join in with, and many of the activities they provide are free. Staff can also give you advice about the kinds of books or other activities your child might enjoy at different ages.
At Castle Academy, we recognise the importance of establishing positive relationships with parents, as highlighted by the EYFS framework. We understand that an effective partnership between school and home will have a positive impact on children’s learning and development. We endeavour to encourage the regular sharing of information about the children with parents and value the role of parents as children’s primary educators.
Miss Blagden is the “key person” for all children within the FS2 class and is available to exchange information and discuss things that will benefit your child before and after school.
Another important part of the EYFS Profile is your knowledge about your child’s learning and development, so do share what your child does with you: such as how confident your child is in writing their name, reading and talking about a favourite book, speaking to people your child is not so familiar with or their understanding of numbers.
Observations can be shared in the following ways:
- via the school website using the link at the top of this page
- by emailing observations to email@example.com
- by completing Parent Observation Forms which are available from staff in the Foundation Stage Unit
What To Expect, When?
The purpose of this booklet is to help you as a parent find out more about how your child is learning and developing during their first five years, in relation to the EYFS. Children develop more rapidly during the first five years of their lives than at any other time. This booklet has been written to help you as a parent know what to expect during these vitally important years by focusing on the seven areas of learning and development which are covered in the EYFS.
In this guide, your child’s first five years have been divided up into six age bands which overlap. This is because every child is different and children do not grow and develop at the same rate. It highlights what you might notice your child doing at these points.
How Can I Find Out How My Child Is Getting On?
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 will be carried out by Miss Blagden and is based on what she, and other staff caring for your child, have observed over a period of time.
All of the information collected is used to judge how your child is doing in the 7 areas of learning and development. Finding out at this stage how your child is doing will mean that the teacher your child has in their next school year – year 1 – will know what your child really enjoys doing and does well, as well as helping them decide if your child needs a bit of extra support, what that support should be and if they are already getting it.
You will receive a report of your child’s progress, including information from his or her EYFS Profile.
Where Can I Go For Further Information?
You may want to find out what is on offer at your local children’s centre.
You can find the Early Years Foundation Stage which includes the early learning goals at www.foundationyears.org.uk.
For further information, please download the following documents:-