The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards that all early years 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 of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported.
Learning and Development
The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. The learning and development requirements cover:
• the areas of learning and development which must shape activities and experiences (educational programmes) for 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); and
• assessment arrangements for measuring progress (and requirements for reporting to parents and/or carers).
Four guiding principles should shape practice in early years settings. These are:
• every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;
• children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
• 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; and
• children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Learning and Development Requirements
This section defines what providers must do, working in partnership with parents and/or carers, to promote the learning and development of all children in their care, and to ensure they are ready for school.
The learning and development requirements are informed by the best available evidence on how children learn and reflect the broad range of skills, knowledge and attitudes children need as foundations for good future progress. Early years providers must guide the development of children’s capabilities with a view to ensuring that children in their care complete the EYFS ready to benefit fully from the opportunities ahead of them.
The EYFS learning and development requirements comprise:
• the seven areas of learning and development and the educational programmes;
• the early learning goals, which summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that all young children should have gained by the end of the Reception year; and
• the assessment requirements (when and how practitioners must assess children’s achievements, and when and how they should discuss children’s progress with parents and/or carers).