What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), this is 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.

What is the EYFS Framework ?

The EYFS Framework exists to support all professionals working in the EYFS to help your child.

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)”
  •  The EYFS Framework explains how and what your child will be learning to support their healthy 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:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

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 help with my child’s learning?

Even when your child is very young and is not yet able to talk, talking to them helps them to learn and understand new words and ideas. If you make the time every day to do some of the following things with your child it will make a real difference to your child’s confidence as a young learner 

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.

  • Talk about the numbers, colours, words and letters you see when you are out and about
  • Sing and tell nursery rhymes
  • Allow your child to cut out and stick pictures from magazines
  • Plant seeds or bulbs in a pot or garden patch
  • Cook / bake together 
  • Use the weather - shadows, rain puddles, snow, wind, mist and sun - to extend your child's vocabulary
  • Explore the park at a different time of the year – go off the beaten track
  • Talk to your child at every opportunity - e.g. what you are doing that day
  • Share a book

When your child is 5

At the end of Reception the EYFS profile will be completed about your child and will state whether your child is working towards, has met or has exceeded the Early Learning Goals in each area of learning.

All of the information collected throughout the year 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 Year 1 teacher will know what your child really enjoys doing and does well.

The school will give you a report of your child’s progress, including information from his or her EYFS Profile.

Where can I go for further information?

The most important place to find out more is your child’s childminder or nursery – do ask as many questions as you need to. Providers really do welcome speaking with you.

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. The foundation years website also includes a range of resources and contacts.