What is the EYFS?
EYFS stands for Early Years Foundation Stage. This is how the government describes the stage in your child’s life between birth and the age of 5.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework legislates how school based nurseries, private nurseries, preschools, school reception classes and child-minders care and educate your child.
Ofsted inspect nurseries to make sure they are compiling with the legislation.
The EYFS Framework does not apply to children cared for in their own home by family, friends, nannies or au pairs, at mother and toddler groups or in short term crèches.
It was first introduced in 2007 and has been revised several times since.
The EYFS sets out
- The legal welfare requirements that everyone registered to look after children must follow to keep your child safe and promote their welfare
- The 7 areas of learning and development which guide professionals’ engagement with your child’s play and activities as they learn new skills and knowledge
- Assessments that will tell you about your child’s progress through the EYFS
- Expected levels that your child should reach at age 5, usually the end of the reception year; these expectations are called the “Early Learning Goals (ELGs)”
There is also guidance for the professionals supporting your child on planning the learning activities, and observing and assessing what and how your child is learning and developing.
The Seven Area of Learning
These are divided in to 3 prime areas and 4 specific areas.
The prime areas are
- Communication and language;
- Physical development; and
- Personal, social and emotional development.
The specific areas are
- Understanding the world; and
- Expressive arts and design.
It’s similar but much simpler than the curriculums set in primary and secondary schools but it’s very flexible and designed to follow the needs and interests of very young children.
At the age of two and when your child is five (usually while in a reception class) an assessment will be carried out by the staff caring for your child and you will receive a written copy of this.
The assessment when your child is between two and three years old is called The Progress Check at Age Two and you will be given a summary of how your child is progressing in the 3 prime areas.
The assessment at age five is called the EYFS Profile and is a record of how your child is doing in the 3 prime areas and the 4 specific areas.
The assessments will show you where your child is doing well but can also show where they might need a bit of extra help.
These assessments aren’t tests, they are based on what the nursery staff have observed your child doing and saying in the nursery and what you tell us about your child too.
At our nursery we also try to ensure you get some written information every year in July (or when your child leaves the setting) in the form of an end of year report. You can make an appointment to speak to the manager or your child’s key worker at any time. You can check your child’s progress by looking at their Developmental Records and can see what they have been up to by reading the observations and looking at the photos in their Learning Journal. We also hold annual parents meetings in June/July to discuss a child’s care, learning and development for those who wish to attend. Daily verbal or written feedback is given to all parents who have babies in the baby room.
Parents are a child’s first teacher and their main teacher throughout their childhood and beyond so it’s important that we get to talk to you about your child and listen to what you have to tell us.
So what does this mean for your child?
It means that the setting is run by a manager who has the appropriate training and experience.
It means that an appropriate number of the staff caring for your child have been trained in how to care and educate babies and young children.
It means these staff continue to learn and develop their practice and are properly managed.
It means that the nursery is safe, and there are always trained first aiders who have specific training in first aid for babies and young children present.
It means that there is always enough adults on site to keep the children safe and to care for them appropriately.
It means that you, as a parent or carer , are listened to and given lots of information about what your child is doing at nursery.
It means that if a child needs extra help in certain areas of their learning and development we can let you know and help get you extra support form external agencies.
It means that the staff really know your child, they know what they like to do, what they are good at and where they struggle.
And most importantly it means ……
….the children and babies can spend lots of time playing, exploring and learning. They can play inside and outside. They can play on their own or with their friends, they also get to spend time playing with the staff and joining in specific adult lead activities. They can make music, sing and dance, listen to stories, play dressing up and role play. They can thread beads, sort shapes and start to count and do simple maths. They can play with balls and on slides, cars and trikes. They can learn how to balance and build, splash and measure. They can make things, paint things, scribble and draw. They can learn about letters. They can share in one another’s celebrations and learn about the world around them. They can babble and chat. They can learn to put on their coats, pour themselves a drink and cut fruit for snack time. They can learn about friendship and start to make sense of their own emotions. It means they can make choices about what they want to do and what they want to play with. All this will mean that when the time comes they will be ready for school and because we share information with the local schools and will pass on assessments made in the nursery, school will be ready for them!
For more information go to http://www.foundationyears.org.uk and find the ‘EYFs Parents Guide’ and ‘What to Expect When’ and the ‘EYFS Statutory Framework’.