Early Years Foundation Stage
The early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets the statutory standards that all early years providers must meet. This includes all maintained schools, non-maintained schools, independent schools and all providers on the Early Years Register.
The EYFS 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 opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of each individual child and are assessed and reviewed regularly;
- Partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers;
- Equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported.
The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. The learning and development requirements cover:
- the areas of learning and development which must shape activities and experiences (educational programmes) for children in all early years settings;
- the early learning goals that providers must help children work towards (the knowledge, skills and understanding children should have at the end of the academic year in which they turn five); and
- assessment arrangements for measuring progress (and requirements for reporting to parents and/or carers).
The safeguarding and welfare requirements cover the steps that providers must take to keep children safe and promote their welfare.
The EYFS learning and development requirements comprise:
The seven areas of learning and development and the educational programmes The early learning goals, which summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that all young children should have gained by the end of the Reception year; and
The assessment requirements (when and how practitioners must assess children’s achievements, and when and how they should discuss children’s progress with parents and/or carers).
The areas of learning and development
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:
- Communication and language;
- Physical development; and
- Personal, social and emotional development.
1.4. Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design.