Baby reading

Right at the heart of everything we do here at Castle Lane Day Nursery, the Early Years Foundation Stage are important standards, which are often just abbreviated to ‘EYFS’.

But what exactly is the EYFS? Why is it being revised? And why should it matter to you, as a parent or carer of a child aged five or under?

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)?

Set by the Department for Education, EFYS are the standards that school and childcare providers must meet for the learning, development and care of children from birth to the age of five.

This framework ensures that children are kept healthy and safe as well as making sure that they have the knowledge and skills they need to start school.

Who does the EYFS apply to?

The EFYS is a statutory framework and applies to:

  • school leaders
  • school staff
  • childcare providers
  • childminders
  • out of school providers

Which settings does the EYFS apply to?

The following settings in England are expected to adhere to this mandatory framework:

  • local authority-maintained schools
  • non-maintained schools (schools not maintained by a local authority)
  • independent schools
  • academies and free schools
  • nurseries
  • private nursery schools
  • pre-schools/playgroups
  • childminding

What is the aim of the EYFS?

The Department for Education sets out its objectives in the 53 page 2021 framework, noting that

“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.”

In particular, 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 planning for the learning and development of each individual child, and assessing and reviewing what they have learned 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.

The EFYS is guided by four overarching principles. There 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 with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers
  • importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates

Is there a new EYFS out for 2021?

Yes. The previous statutory framework (2017) has just been revised and reissued.

Changes to the EYFS framework became law in September 2021.

Why has the EFYS changed?

The Department for Education has said that the reforms to the EYFS aim to improve outcomes for children as well as strengthen their language development, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

It also aims to lessen the workload on practitioners, to enable them to spend more time with children, in order to support their learning.

What are some of the key changes made in the 2021 EFYS framework?

The Department for Education has placed high importance on the development of speech and language and literacy skills, especially in those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Spoken language underpins all seven areas of the framework and high-quality back-and-forth interactions and conversations in a language rich environment are considered a priority.

Strong, warm, supportive relationships are also prioritised, alongside the role of self-regulation.

The development of gross and fine motor skills is considered in physical development.

And developing a lifelong love of reading is believed to be crucial.

Focus is placed on a deep understanding of numbers 1 to 10 and children are encouraged to develop a positive attitude to and interest in maths and to not be afraid to make mistakes.

Children are also encouraged to understand the world around them, by visiting parks, libraries and museums, and meeting important members of society, such as police officers, nurses and firefighters.

Expressive arts and design focus on engaging with the arts to develop a cultural awareness, as well as hands on creative experiences.

How can I find out more about the EYFS?

You can find out more about the Early Years Foundation Stage by visiting the Department for Education website.

And here at Castle Lane Day Nursery, we would be more than happy to discuss how we are implementing the requirements of this statutory framework both across the setting and in relation to your child in particular.