EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE
What is the EYFS?
The curriculum that we deliver in reception class meets the requirements set out in the Statutory Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. This sets out the standards that must be met to ensure that children learn and develop well, are healthy and safe. The Early Years Foundation Stage is a framework for children up to the age of five, setting out seven key areas of learning around which activities should be based.
What does the EYFS cover?
The legal welfare requirements that everyone registered to look after children must follow to keep your child safe and promote their welfare
The 7 areas of learning and development which guide professionals’ engagement with your child’s play and activities as they learn new skills and knowledge
Quality of the environment, for example, it recommends there should be access to outdoor space
Assessments that will tell you about your child’s progress through the EYFS
Expected levels that your child should reach at age 5, usually the end of the reception year; these expectations are called the “Early Learning Goals (ELGs)”
There is also guidance for the professionals supporting your child on planning the learning activities, and observing and assessing what and how your child is learning and developing. We use the recently updated Development Matters document to support us in the provision of a rich curriculum.
How will my child be learning?
The EYFS Framework explains how and what your child will be learning to support their healthy development.
Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:
• Communication and language;
• Physical development; and
• Personal, social and emotional development.
These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning.
As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:
• Understanding the world; and
• Expressive arts and design.
These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like the National Curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it's suitable for very young children, and it's designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child's unique needs and interests.
Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
At Amberley Parochial School, we aim to make learning more meaningful and personal to the children by taking their interests and developing their learning through the themes/ ideas that they introduce. A good example of this from the Autumn term, was when one child bought in an Australian version of Noah’s Ark to share with the class. This led on to us using maps, globes and travel brochures to investigate where Australia was in relation to other countries we had heard of. We drew our own maps (some of which were on a huge scale!), gave instructions to navigate pathways, created Aboriginal style art work, learned about different animals that live in Australia, counted in twos, heard the original story of Noah’s ark and wrote our own versions, among many other things. Another example comes from the Spring term, when a group of children offered to help clean out the water tray. This developed into cleaning the bikes and before we knew it, a car wash had started! The teachers facilitated challenge, by exploring the idea of charging for washing bikes/ cars. Before we knew it the children were completing booking forms, writing their names, the colour of their car and its registration number; filling in receipts to record the job that had been done; creating posters to advertise costs and publicise their business; counting out the number of jugs of water needed for different sized jugs and paying for a job well done with coins - all whilst enjoying themselves immensely!
Through observations, we are able to ensure that the interests of all children are taken into account during the term. These will sometimes be the main leading ‘theme’ or may be more subtle. We use our ongoing assessment to tailor our input and the challenges that are set, so that we can meet the individual needs of each child to ensure that they are learning at an appropriate level. There are many benefits to this type of approach to teaching and learning and the children are making significant progress because they are interested and actively involved in their own learning.
There are, however familiar themes which arise each year, although we may explore them in different ways. For example, once spring time is underway we always explore the idea of ‘growing’; if the children are really excited by animals and we may take our growing topic down the path of life cycles and look at tadpoles and butterflies. If children are more motivated by the outside area and plants, we may grow lots of plants, observe how they grow, look at plant life cycles and measure how things grow.
Over the course of the year, our learning may well be based around some of these common themes:
Light & Dark
Growing (Plants and animals)
Animals and mini-beasts
Around the world
Fairy tales and traditional stories
Please visit our weekly Blog, on the Dexter class page, to find out what we have been learning about.
How do I know how my child is doing?
EYFS guidelines state that your child should have a ‘key person’ at nursery, pre-school or reception class, who is responsible for putting together information on how your child is developing. In our setting, this is the teaching staff, who work in a job share capacity and communicate effectively, on a daily basis with each other, and the highly skilled teaching assistants who work alongside them. We use Tapestry online learning journeys to share children's experiences, progress and achievements. Parents and carers are able to add to this journal to share their own impressions and build on what each child is learning at home. We hold parents' evenings twice a year and at the end of the Foundation Stage, your child's progress towards the Early Learning Goals will be reported alongside an end of year report.
How can I find out more?
To find out more, visit :
Please visit the Dexter class page to find out more about what goes on in our EYFS Reception class.