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29 July 2014

The Early Years Foundation Stage Explained

It is now believed that introducing children to education and learning from the age of two can give them a fantastic head-start in their school career. To that end, the Department of Education recently published a set of guidelines which schools must follow in order to give every child in England and Wales the same opportunities for pre-school development. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a set of legally binding guidelines relating to the welfare and learning of children between the age of two and five. 

What is the EYFS? 

The EYFS is a national curriculum for pre-school education. Registered Early Years providers and schools must follow this curriculum in its entirety, and compliance is checked annually by OFSTED visits. Children are assessed on a number of competencies between the ages of two and three, and again just before they start full-time school. Assessments take the form of observations only, and the
information gained from these observations is used to give you and your child's teachers the tools to support your child's learning and development. 

The EYFS is based on four guiding principles: Individuality, forming positive relationships, creating enabling environments and promoting learning and development. 


Children need to be treated as individuals if they are to realise their full potential. Fostering an environment of openness, communication and positivity will give your child the confidence to grow, learn and flourish in the school environment. Schools must do all they can to ensure the physical and emotional needs of every child in a school or nursery are being met. 

Forming Positive Relationships 

Teachers and staff must work with children to encourage a cohesive and cooperative environment. The curriculum includes steps to ensure that children are helped to manage their own feelings and develop healthy, respectful relationships with their peers. The concerns and fears of individual children must be listened to in order to tailor a support framework that works best for the individual. 

Creating Enabling Environments 

Although much of the emphasis at pre-school learning is play-based, every Early Years provider must have a plan for checking on the emotional, social and educational progress of children. Outdoor and indoor learning spaces should be safe and functional, and they should be set up for effective learning and social interaction. 

Learning and Development 

Learning at such an early age is based on play and social interaction with other children. Your child should be given the opportunity to explore their imagination and become accustomed to making decisions. There should therefore be a number of activities taking place with the aim of developing your child's creative side and promoting the critical thought process. 

Every Early Years provider is required to work towards seven different goals in order to give children the most rewarding and productive pre-school experience possible. 

• The curriculum calls for the emotional, social and personal development of every child based on their individual needs 
• Children must be given the opportunity to develop their literacy, language and communication skills • Numeracy, reasoning and problem solving should be fostered through an introduction to basic mathematics 
• Through giving children the opportunity to investigate, they can gain a better understanding of the world and local community in which they live 
• Children must be given the opportunity for physical development 
• A range of activities should be in place to allow children to explore and develop their creative side 
• The physical and emotional welfare of every child must be looked after at all times 

The EYFS recognises that children have very different ways of learning, and it includes specific guidelines to ensure that they receive the attention and activities needed for their development. 


Author Profile: CET Primary School Westminster supports high academic attainment and follows the International Primary Curriculum. CETPS Tower Hamlet is free to all primary aged children and believes that all pupils have the potential to succeed.

What activities do you encourage to help your child's development?

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  1. Our son is 5, and while his reading is very strong it's hard to get him to concentrate on writing. We try to get him to do 20 minutes writing a night, just to get into good habits.

  2. Wow thanks for this info - being Australian I had no idea how the system here works.


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