What is EYFS? A Guide for Early Years Providers

Post by: Prospero | February, 08, 2018
Careers in Education
Overseas Teachers
Primary Teaching
Teaching in the UK

As childcare providers, you may have heard the term EYFS being used, but what exactly is it? In this guide, we’ll explore EYFS meaning, its principles, areas of learning, welfare requirements, and much more.

what is the early years foundation stage framework

What is EYFS? This stands for Early Years Foundation Stage

What is EYFS?

EYFS, or Early Years Foundation Stage, is a statutory framework that sets the standards for the learning goals, development, and welfare of all children from birth to the age of five in early years settings in England. The EYFS was established under the ChildCare Act of 2006 and is overseen by the Department for Education.

Who does EYFS apply to?

EYFS applies to a wide range of early years providers, including childminders, day nurseries, playgroups and holiday play-schemes, breakfast and after-school clubs, school reception and nursery classes, and Sure Start Children’s Centres.

What are the four main principles of EYFS?

The EYFS is built on four main principles:

  1. Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident, and self-assured.
  2. Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
  3. Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs, and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
  4. Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.

What are the seven areas of learning in EYFS?

According to the EYFS statutory framework, there are seven areas of learning and social and emotional development that early years providers must promote. These are:

  1. Communication and Language Development – 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.
  2. Physical Development – providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive, and to develop their coordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and make healthy choices in relation to food.
  3. Personal, Social and Emotional Development – 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 behavior in groups, and to have confidence in their own abilities.
  4. Literacy Development – 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, including books, poems, and other written materials, to ignite their interest.
  5. Mathematics – providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, and describing shapes, spaces, and measures.
  6. Understanding the World – 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.
  7. Expressive Arts and Design – 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.

What are the welfare requirements of EYFS?

In addition to the seven areas of learning and development, EYFS sets out requirements that early years providers must meet to ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of children in their care. These include:

  1. Child protection
  2. Suitable people
  3. Staff qualifications, training, support, and skills
  4. Key person
  5. Health
  6. Managing behaviour
  7. Safety and suitability of premises, environment, and equipment
  8. Equal opportunities
  9. Information and records
  10. Provider details

The Learning Journey and Early Learning Goals

As part of the EYFS, early years providers must keep a record of each child’s progress, which is known as the “learning journey.” This record should include observations, assessments, and samples of the child’s work, and it should be shared with parents and carers regularly. The learning journey should be used to inform the child’s next steps in learning and development.

The EYFS also sets out “early learning goals” for each of the seven areas of learning. These goals describe what most children are expected to know and be able to do by the end of the reception year (the year in which children turn five). Early years providers should use these goals to plan activities and experiences that support children in reaching these goals.

Welfare Requirements

The EYFS also includes welfare requirements that early years providers must follow to ensure that children are kept safe and healthy. These requirements include things like:

  • Safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare
  • Staff qualifications, training, and skills
  • Staff-to-child ratios
  • Health and safety
  • Food and drink
  • Managing behavior
  • Premises and equipment

The Statutory Framework and Inspection Handbook

The EYFS is part of the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. This framework sets out the legal requirements that all early years providers must follow.

The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) is the organization responsible for inspecting early years settings in England to ensure that they are meeting the EYFS requirements. The Ofsted inspection handbook sets out what inspectors will look for during an inspection, including how early years providers are implementing the EYFS.

Building Relationships and Partnerships

The EYFS emphasizes the importance of building relationships and partnerships with parents, carers, and other professionals. Early years providers must work with parents and carers to support each child’s learning and development, and they must also collaborate with other professionals, such as health visitors, to ensure that each child’s needs are met.

In conclusion, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a framework that sets out the learning, development, and welfare requirements for children from birth to the age of five in England. The EYFS includes seven areas of learning and development, and it emphasizes the importance of building relationships and partnerships with parents, carers, and other professionals. Early years providers must follow the statutory framework and meet the welfare requirements set out in the EYFS, and they are inspected by Ofsted to ensure that they are meeting these requirements.

You can find explanations of the other key stages in the national curriculum in our Key Stage 1 blog, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.

If the EYFS sounds like a teaching stage that interests you, you can browse our jobs EYFS jobs here. If you’re a UK based teacher or TA you can pre-register here and if you’re overseas make initial contact with us here.

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