What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), is the tool that childcare professionals use to inform and enhance how we work with children between birth and age 5.
This is a very important stage as it helps your child to build the right foundation blocks into their development which in turn will stand them in good stead throughout their education and beyond..
From when your child is born up until the age of 5, their early years experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; supporting their development, care and learning needs.
Nurseries, pre-schools, reception classes and childminders registered to deliver the EYFS must follow this legal document called the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.
This EYFS Framework exists to support all professionals working in early years, and was developed with a number of early years experts and parents. It includes the following:
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 on planning strategies and learning activities, observing and assessing what and how your child is learning and developing.
What does this mean for parents?
Within the EYFS there is a set of welfare standards that everyone must follow. These include the numbers of staff required in any setting, how many children a childminder can look after, and things like administering medicines and carrying out risk assessments. All this assures parents that much thought has been given to making sure that your child is as safe as possible.
You can find out about the quality of your child’s early years provider in relation to the EYFS Framework by checking what the Government’s official inspection body for early years, Ofsted has to say about it. You can find this information at www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report.
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.
Expressive arts and design.
These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. As a childminder, I will be supporting your child to realise their potential by making sure that 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 we 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.