Early Years Foundation Stage, typically abbreviated to EYFS, is a UK government framework that sets out welfare and development goals for children aged five and under. If your child is in any form of childcare beyond their parents (i.e. nanny, childminder, nursery, pre-school, reception year at school etc) the EYFS framework will be used to monitor and track your child’s progress. This information on your child’s development will be shared with you.
In terms of the development sections covered within EYFS these are separated into the following:
- Prime areas of Learning and Development
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Specific areas of learning and development
- Understanding the world
- Expressive Arts & Design
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is how the Government 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.
At The Hive we follow a legal document called the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. Every Early Years Setting will follow the same document nationwide.
What is the EYFS Framework? Does my child need it?
The EYFS Framework exists to support all those working in the EYFS to help your child, it was developed by professionals and parents too!
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.
What does that mean to you?
Much thought has been given to making sure that your child is as safe as possible. Within the EYFS there is a set of welfare standards that everyone must follow. These include the numbers of staff required and things like administering medicines and carrying out risk assessments.
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.
The 7 areas are used to plan your child's learning and activities. At The Hive we will be teaching and supporting your child and we will make sure that the activities are suited to your child's unique needs. The most important thing to remember always is that every child is different, unique and will do things differently. The EYFS 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. It is nothing to be worried or concerned by and we will always talk you through things and provide guidance and advice too.
Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
It is important that we all work together. You need to feel comfortable about exchanging information and discussing things that will benefit your child. These conversations will be with your child's key person.
This is the person who:
- Is your main point of contact within the setting
- Helps your child to become settled, happy and safe
- Is responsible for your child's care, development and learning
- Takes a careful note of your child's progress, sharing this with you and giving you ideas as to how to help your child at home.
At some point after your child turns 2, your childs Key Worker will carry out the 2 year assessment and give you a written summary of how your child is progressing against the 3 prime areas of learning:
- communication and language;
- physical development; and
- 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 any where they might need some extra help or support, and how you mums and dads and other family members or carers can work with the key person to help. We will try to arrange a suitable time for you to come in and sit down with the Key Worker to talk through the 2 year assessment.
When your child goes to Reception class at Primary School, their teacher will complete a further assessment at the end of the year called 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 of time.
Another important part of the EYFS Profile is your knowledge about your child's learning and development, so do let your child's class teacher know about 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.
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.
The school will give you a report of your child's progress, including information from his or her EYFS Profile.
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.