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A guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)?

If you’re currently registered with us, you might have heard of the EYFS. You might know it as something the practitioners use... but what actually is it? And how does it work?

The EYFS is how the government and early years practitioners describe the time in your little one’s life between birth and age 5.

This stage is important as it helps your child get ready for school, future learning, and success.

The EYFS is put into a framework and following this is a legal requirement for all registered nurseries/preschools/childminders etc.

The framework covers 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 practitioner 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 Years Learning Goals (ELGs).’

There is also guidance on how to best plan learning activities as well as observing and assessing what and how your child is learning and developing.

What does this mean for you as a parent?

Ensuring safety

Within the EYFS there is a set of safety and welfare standards that everyone must follow. These include the numbers of staff required in a nursery, administering medicines, carrying out risk assessments etc.

Quality of childcare

OFSTED is the Government’s official inspection body. You can find out the quality of all registered nurseries by looking at their reports. Click here to find a report.

How your little one will be learning

The EYFS Framework explains how and what your child will be learning to support their development.

There are 7 areas of learning and development through which your little one will learn new skills and demonstrate their understanding.

Children should in most develop the following 3 key areas first:

· Communication and language

· Physical development

· Personal, social, and emotional development

These areas are the essential to your child’s healthy development and future learning.

As your little one grows, the key areas will help them develop skills in the following 4 areas:

· Literacy

· Mathematics

· Understanding the world

· Expressive arts and design

These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities.

Nursery practitioners will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. It’s quite similar to a curriculum in schools, but it's designed to be very flexible so that staff can follow your child's needs and interests.

This can involve playing, exploring, being active, creative, critical thinking and more.

At The Butterfly Patch, our practitioners use a framework called Development Matters for additional support with this.

How can you help your child’s learning?

All of the fun activities that you do with your little one at home are important in supporting their learning and development. These have a long-lasting effect on your child’s learning as they go to school.

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.

Here are some examples of activities you can do with your little one to help their development:

· Sing nursery rhymes.

· Talk about numbers, colours, words and letters you see when you are outdoors.

· Have your child to cut out and stick down images from magazines.

· Cook and bake together.

· Gardening together.

· Use the weather (e.g. rain, sun, puddle etc.) to expand their vocabulary.

· Explore a park at different times of the year.

· Storybooks!

· Keeping talking to your child – e.g. what you are doing that day.

· On a trip to the supermarket, talk about all the different packaging – shapes and colours.

If you're looking for new ideas for things to do ask your key person. They will be able to give you advice about the kinds of books or other activities your child might enjoy at different ages.

Finding out how your little one is getting on in nursery

It’s important that you and the nursery practitioners work together to further your child’s development.

At nursery you will have a ‘key person’ – they will be your main point of contact with the nursery, help your little one get settled, be responsible of their care and learning as well as take note of their progress.

You should be able to get information from them about your child’s development at any time. There are two stages (at age 2 and at age 5) when the key person will give you written information about how they are doing.

When your child is 2

After your child turns 2, the nursery practitioners must give you a written summary of how your child is progressing against the 3 key areas of learning:

· Communication and language

· Physical development

· Personal, social and emotional development

This is called the progress check at age 2.

This check will highlight areas where your child is progressing well and anywhere, they might need some additional help or support. This will also mention how you and your family can work with the nursery to help.

When your child is 5

At the end of the EYFS – in the summer term of the reception year in school – teachers will complete an assessment which is known as the EYFS Profile.

This assessment is carried out by the reception teacher and is based on what they, and other staff caring for your child, have observed over a period.

Another important part of the EYFS Profile is your knowledge about your child’s learning and development, so it’s important to let your child’s class teacher know what your child does with you.

For instance, how confident your child is in writing their name, reading, and talking about a favourite book or their understanding of numbers.

All the information collected is used to judge how your child is doing in the 7 areas of learning and development.

This will allow your child’s year 1 teacher to know what your child enjoys doing and does well, as well as helping them decide if your child needs a bit of extra support.

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

You can speak to your nursery manager for more information and about any part of the EYFS.


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