The Early Years Foundation Stage is the period of learning and development from birth to the end of their first year in school (Reception). It is called the Early Years Foundation Stage because it gives children secure foundations to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.
The EYFS Framework describes how playgroups, day nurseries, childminders, nursery (F1) and reception classes (F2) should work with children and their families to support their development and learning. It describes how your child should be kept safe and cared for and how all concerned can make sure that your child achieves the most that they can in their earliest years of life. This framework is based on four important principles:
A Unique Child– Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
This means we recognise that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates. We are inclusive and ensure that no child or family is discriminated against, and that the health, well being and safety of the children in our care is paramount.
Positive Relationships – Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships. We see parents as partners - when parents & Reception staff work together, it has a positive impact on children’s development and learning. Every child has a ‘Key Person’ in Reception who develops a warm, trusting relationship with them, giving them the reassurance to feel safe and cared for.
Enabling Environments – Children learn and develop well in enabling environments in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers. By giving the children a rich and varied learning environment, making use of both inside and outside areas, we support every child in their learning and development. Activities are planned by observing the children in order to understand their individual needs.
Learning and Development— Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. We recognise that play is a child’s work and that children learn best through physical and mental challenges. Playing is the child’s way of discovering the world around him/her and how it works. Play is a natural vehicle for learning because it motivates young children. Learning experiences with a variety of materials provide opportunities for exploration and experimentation, construction and representation, creation and imagination, learning skills and concepts, repetition, consolidation, socialisation and emotional security. Early experiences affect children’s attitudes to learning. They create the basis for later learning.
We want all children to have enjoyable and satisfying childhood experiences.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning
Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things and ‘have a go’
active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things
These underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
There are seven areas of learning and development, all of which are important and interconnected. The prime areas, which are crucial for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive, are:
Communication and Language
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
There are four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
In Foundation Stage, we endeavour to provide educational programmes that involve activities and experiences for children, as follows:
Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations. #
Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.