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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world". Nelson Mandela
The Early Years Foundation Stage


What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?


From when your child is born up until the age of 5, their early years experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs.


The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a framework for all professionals working with children in the early years, to help them support your child’s learning and development, from birth to five years old.


In 2012 the framework was revised to make it clearer and easier to use, with more focus on the things that matter most. This new framework also has a greater emphasis on your role in helping your child develop. It 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 the age of five, usually at 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.


How my child will be learning?


The EYFS Framework explains how and what your child will be learning to support their healthy development.


Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.

Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:


•          Communication and language; 
•          Physical development; and 
•          Personal, social and emotional development.


These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning.


As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:


•          Literacy; 
•          Mathematics; 
•          Understanding the world; and
•          Expressive arts and design.


These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it's suitable for very young children, and it's designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child's unique needs and interests.

Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.


Where can I go for further information?


The most important place to find out more is your child’s childminder or nursery – do ask as many questions as you need to. Providers really do welcome speaking with you.

You may want to find out what is on offer at your local children’s centre.


You can find the Early Years Foundation Stage which includes the early learning goals at

The foundation years website also includes a range of resources and contacts. 

What to expect, when?

The purpose of this booklet is to help you as a parent/carer find out more about

how your child is learning and developing during their first five years, in relation

to the EYFS. Children develop more rapidly during the first five years of their lives

than at any other time. This booklet has been written to help you as a parent know

what to expect during these vitally important years by focusing on the seven areas

of learning and development which are covered in the EYFS.

Download a copy of What to expect, when? here


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