Early Years Foundation Stage

Ofsted registered Childminders, like nurseries, preschools and reception classes, must follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. 

But what is the Early Years Foundation Stage and what does mean?
The EYFS is a statutory framework produced by the Department of Education.  It’s basically things I need to follow in order to offer your child the best possible care.

You can download a copy from www.education.gov.uk/publications or ask to see mine.

It has a section containing the legal welfare requirements that I must follow to keep your child safe. These include:
  • Having certain qualifications/training,
  • Suitable premises/equipment/environment,
  • Child protection procedures,
  • Health and safety requirements,
  • Information and records
  • Equal opportunities policies and procedures
  • Written procedure for dealing with complaints
Within the Early Years Foundation Stage there is a document called EYFS Development Matters.  It contains information on how I can assess your child’s learning and development.

Learning and development is split into seven areas; with sub headings of prime and specific areas.

The prime areas of learning begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences.  They extend through all other areas of learning and are fundamental to support development in all areas:
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
The other areas are referred to as specific areas.  These include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society:
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design
All of these areas combined make up a unique child.  The Unique Child reaches out to relate to people and things through the Characteristics of Effective Learning.   These Characteristics move through all areas of learning:
  • Playing and exploring
  • Active learning
  • Creating and thinking critically
All of the areas of learning are split into sets of ages:
  • Birth – 11 months
  •  8 – 20 months
  • 16 – 26 months
  • 22 – 36 months
  • 30 – 50 months
  • 40 – 60+ months
Within each area of learning there are several points of development which they would expect a child in that age range to doing.  It gives guidelines on how I can enable your child to develop in each area of learning through Positive Relationships and Enabling Environments. It is important to remember that these are guidelines and to understand that all children develop at their own rate.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework says that sometime between each child’s 2nd and 3rd birthday that I must complete a progress check.  It’s a written summary of how the child is progressing against the 3 prime areas of learning.

In practice what does this mean to you and your child?
Each child has a file that I call a learning journal.  I ask parents to provide me with information about their child such as are the able to crawl/walk? What’s their favourite book or rhyme? Do they like to nap at a certain time? Along with what they like doing.  I use this information to plan activities and experiences suited to each child.  I then observe the children and think about what the next steps are for them in terms of their development and plan based on their interests.

Periodically I give the file to parents to take home to have an insight into what we’ve been doing.  It will be filled with photos that I have taken while observing the child at play. The file shows that I am following Government guidelines and giving the children opportunities to learn and develop through making links to the appropriate aspects of the EYFS.   I include forms for feedback and suggestions from parents. 

This is just a brief summary of the Early Years Foundation Stage.  If you’d like more details then you might want to download a copy yourself, the link is at the top of the page.  If you have any queries about how I follow the EYFS then feel free to contact me for a chat.

A more detailed guide for parents can be found by following this link.