The Early Years Foundation Stage
The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (Dept. of Education) states:
“The Early Years Foundations Stage (EYFS) sets the standard 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”.
There are seven areas of learning and development. The three prime areas are particularly important for provoking children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and also building their capability to learn and form relationships. These prime areas reflect the key skills all children need to develop and learn effectively to be ready for school
The prime areas are:
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Communication and language
- Physical development
Practitioners must also support children in four specific areas, through which the prime areas are strengthened. The four specific areas are:
- Understanding of the world
- Expressive arts and design
Practitioners working with the youngest children are expected to focus on the three prime areas, which are the basis for successful learning in the other four specific areas. The three prime areas reflect the key skills and capacities all children need to develop and learn effectively in order to become ready for school.
It is expected that the balance will shift towards a more equal focus on all areas of learning as children grow in confidence and ability within the three prime areas. If a child’s progress in any prime areas gives cause for concern, practitioners must discuss this with the child’s parents and/or carers and agree how to support the child.
Characteristics of effective learning
The ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment – playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically, underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.
The three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
- Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things
and ‘have a go’
- Active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter
difficulties, and enjoy achievements and
- Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas,
make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.
Within our daily provision, there are opportunities for a balance of adult guided and child-initiated spontaneous play. Staff spend time interacting with children to promote creative and critical thinking skills and early language and communication. Additionally staff are deployed during the morning to lead small group adult-led activities in those areas of learning where there is a cohort of children with a similar need, in these small groups children find it easier to process information, concentrate and learn.