The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
The latest version of the Early Years Foundation Stage was published in September 2015, and is used in all early years’ settings for children from Birth to 5 years. The EYFS promotes children learning best through purposeful play by active investigation and exploration with time to discover, wonder and use their senses to find out about the world around them.
The areas of learning and development
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape our educational programmes. All are important and inter-connected.
The Prime areas
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:
• Communication and language
• Physical development
• Personal, social and emotional development
The specific areas
We also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied:
• Understanding the world
• Expressive arts and design.
Our programme involves 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.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
In planning and guiding children’s activities, we reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice. 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.