Early Years Foundation Stage

As an Ofsted Registered provider, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The EYFS is a Statutory Framework (from 3 April 2017) which sets a comprehensive range of standards for settings providing childcare and education to children from birth to five years old.

The EYFS sets out:

• the 7 areas of learning and development which guide professionals’ engagement with your child’s play and activities as they learn new skill and knowledge. These 7 areas are outlined in the section below.
• the legal welfare requirements that everyone registered to look after children must follow to keep your child safe and promote their welfare
• 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

Children in the EYFS learn by developing their Characteristics of Effective Learning which is aided by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.

There are 3 prime areas of learning in the EYFS:

• communication and language

• physical development

• personal, social and emotional development

Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.

The specific areas are:

• literacy

• mathematics

• understanding the world

• expressive arts and design

Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL) are a revived element in the current Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS). CoEL advocate that in planning and guiding children’s activities, practitioners must reflect on the different ways that children learn, and then reflect these in their practice. A child’s individual learning characteristic will determine the way they respond to both the teaching and learning taking place in the environment.  Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning identified by the EYFS 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; and
  • creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
The focus of the CoEL is on how children learn rather than what they learn i.e. process over outcome. Underpinning the CoEL is the understanding that during their earliest years, children form attitudes about learning that will last a lifetime. Children who receive the right sort of support and encouragement during these years will be creative, and adventurous learners throughout their lives. Children who do not receive this sort of support and interaction are likely to have a much different attitude about learning later on in life. Hence, why the supportive practitioner, and the environment they provide, need to nurture these CoELs to occur, but without forgetting that children are individuals who bring their own needs, talents and histories to the learning environment.