What is the early years foundation stage?
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.
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 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)
- Assessment arrangements for measuring progress (and requirements for reporting to parents and/or carers)
The safeguarding and welfare requirements cover the steps that providers must take to keep children safe and promote their welfare.
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. Read more about how to help children learn and progress
- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. Read more about how to become an outstanding practitioner
- 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. Read how do I provide a rich learning environment
- 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. Read more about how to help children learn and progress.
What is my legal duty as a childcare provider?
All registered providers must follow the statutory safeguarding and welfare requirements to keep children safe and promote their welfare. The seven areas of learning and development must shape the delivery of early education and learning in registered settings. Read the following documents:
- The early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework (Department for Education)
- Development matters in the early years foundation stage (EYFS) (by Early Education)
- Quality Matters: Behaviour and attitudes (childminders)- Word, 172KB (Essex County Council)
- Quality Matters: Outcomes for children (private, voluntary and independent (PVI) settings) - Word, 171KB (Essex County Council)
- Quality Matters: Outcomes for children (schools) - Word, 200KB (Essex County Council)