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Early years foundation stage (EYFS)

The Department for Education and HM Treasury are consumed with providing children with good quality education and care in their earliest years. The primary goal is to help them succeed at school and later in life, contributing to a society where opportunities are equal regardless of background. The early years foundation stage (EYFS) is the statutory framework that sets the standards that early years providers must meet.

A revised EYFS framework was published on 27 March 2012, and came into force on 1 September 2012. This has since been updated on 31 March 2014, and will come into effect on 1 September 2014. A summary of this revised framework is outlined below.

The framework’s primary principles are that:

• every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;
• children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
• children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there    is a strong partnership between staff and parents and carers; and
children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of children    in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The updated EYFS framework seeks to provide:

quality and consistency in all early years settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind;
a secure foundation through learning and development;
partnership working between staff and with parents and carers;
equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported.

The updated EYFS framework specifies requirements for learning and development. The three prime areas of learning and
development are:

Communication and language – Giving children exposure to a rich language environment; developing confidence and to speak and listen in differing situations.
This involves providing opportunities for children to develop and use their home language in play and learning.
o Early learning goals:
• Listening and attention, understanding and speaking.

Physical development – Giving children the opportunity to be active/inactive aiding co-ordination, control and movement. Teaching the importance of physical activity and the link to making healthy food choices.
o Early learning goals:
• Moving and handling, and health and self-care.

Personal, social and emotional development – Aiding children in developing a positive sense of themselves and others, positive relationships, social/behavioural skills and managing feelings.
o Early learning goals:
• Self-awareness and self-confidence, managing feelings and behaviour and making relationships.

The four specific areas of support, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied, are:

Literacy – Encouraging children to link sounds and letters and begin to read and write, through access to a wide range of written materials.
o Early learning goals:
• Read and understand simple sentences using phonic knowledge and read some common irregular words.
• Write words using phonic knowledge, write simple sentences and write some common irregular words.

Mathematics – Develop children’s counting skills, understanding numbers, simple arithmetic and describing shapes, spaces and measures.
o Early learning goals:
• Count and order numbers from 1-20, add/subtract two single digit numbers and solve problems including doubling, halving and sharing.
• Ability to discuss size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time, money in comparing quantities and solving problems

Understanding the world – Guiding children to make sense of their surrounding community and the wider world as well as understanding people, places, technology and the environment.
o Early learning goals:
• Ability to talk about past and present events in their own lives and of their family members. Appreciating similarities and differences between themselves
and others.
• Children are aware of the similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why things occur.
• Understanding technology used for particular purposes in homes and schools.

Expressive arts and design – Involvement in play of a wider range of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology.
o Early learning goals:
• Children sing songs, make music and dance and explore materials and tools to experiment with colour, design, texture and form.
• Using what they’ve learnt about media and materials in original ways through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.

For full information on the EYFS, please click here.