Early Years Foundation Stage

What is the early years foundation stage?

The early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets the standards that all early year’s providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.

The EYFS seeks to provide

  • Quality and consistency in all early years settings, so that every child makes good progress, and no child gets left behind
  • A secure foundation through learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of each individual child and are assessed and reviewed regularly.
  • Partnership working between practitioners and with parents and / or carers.
  • Equality and opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported.

The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare and covers:

  • The areas of learning and development which must shape activities and experiences (educational programmesfor children in all early years settings
  • The early learning goals that providers must help children work towards (the knowledge, skills and understanding children should have at the end of the academic year in which they turn five)
  • Assessment arrangements for measuring progress (and requirements for reporting to parents and/or carers)

Overarching principles

There four guiding principles shape practice in early years settings. These are:

  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.

Read more about the EYFS and how to help your child learn and progress in the guide for parents, ‘What to expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage: a guide for parents’.