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What is EYFS?
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the UK's primary statutory framework for early years education. It sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.
All early years settings must follow the EYFS framework to ensure children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. In this article, we will discuss what EYFS stands for, what it covers, and why it is essential to know the framework.
What is EYFS?
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a framework that sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. It covers all aspects of a child's life, including:
- Health and safety
- Emotional development
- Communication skills
- Capacity to speak English
- Physical development
- Cultural development
- Educational achievement
These factors will support your child's transition to school and provide the foundation for their future educational success. The EYFS framework is designed to ensure that every child can reach their full potential within a supportive environment. In addition to setting these standards for early years education providers across England, Ofsted inspects services against these requirements to ensure they are meeting them effectively.
What does EYFS do for children?
The EYFS emphasises the importance of children learning through play, interaction with others, and their own experiences. It is based on the principle that children learn best through their experiences and by exploring the world around them. Through this process, they gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the people around them as they progress through life.
Several areas of the EYFS have been designed to facilitate this goal, including:
- Play - Play is essential to children’s development. Through play, children learn how things work, how people feel, what they want, and how their bodies work. They also learn to take turns, share, and make new friends. It is through play that children gain an understanding of the world around them.
- Observation - Observation is a key part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). It is a way of gathering and sharing information about children's development and learning by observing their behaviour, emotions, communication and relationships with adults.
- Feedback - Providing feedback about your child's work is essential as it will help them improve and make them feel proud of themselves. This should be done at the end of each session so that children can remember what they have done well and strive to improve on it in the future. Additionally, you should inform parents about their child's progress.
What are the areas of learning in the EYFS?
By law, all Early Years settings must follow the EYFS framework to ensure children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. The EYFS covers many other essential areas affecting your child’s early years well-being.
Here are the areas of learning in the EYFS:
- Communication and language
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Physical development
- Literacy, reading and writing
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design.
What are the four themes of the EYFS?
The four themes of the EYFS are:
- Unique child - This theme focuses on how each child has unique strengths and interests. It also encourages children to understand that they have rights, such as the right to be treated fairly and equally by others or to make mistakes without punishment.
- Positive relationships - In this theme, positive relationships are encouraged between all adults involved in a child’s life (parents or guardians). There are also guidelines for ensuring children feel safe at school or nursery by providing staff training to prevent bullying or abuse-related incidents.
- Enabling environments - This theme relates to how places, such as schools, can create an environment where pupils thrive physically and emotionally. These guidelines also help promote good behaviour amongst students by encouraging them toward healthy eating habits.
- Learning and development - Through this theme, children learn new skills from reading aloud stories together during storytime sessions at school/nursery until they learn how to ride bikes safely outside at primary school.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets clear goals for teachers and parents to understand the child's development. It also sets out clear goals for children, which they can use to help them understand their development. These goals are based on scientific evidence about how children learn and develop.
To ensure that children receive the best early years education possible, it is crucial to remember that the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a framework not solely concerned with academic achievement or social skills. As children develop physically, emotionally, and intellectually at different stages, we must consider this natural progression while allowing our young learners to learn through play as much as possible without imposing unnecessary restrictions.
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References and resources
CQC (2023) - Care Quality Commission.
HM Government (2021) - Early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework.
HM Government (2023) - Ofsted.
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