home> Under5s Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage
under5s - Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage

The EYFS brings together: The Birth to Three Matters framework, Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage, and the National Standards for Under 8s Daycare and Childminding.

An EYFS pack is available from the Department’s publications house on request (telephone DfES Publications orderline: 0845 60 222 60 and quote 00012-2007PCK-EN), and for free download from teachernet (at http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/teachingandlearning/EYFS ), along with the CD-Rom of all the resource materials which is also available on-line.

What is in the pack ?

1 – Statutory Framework

2 – Practice Guidance

3 – Principles into Practice card

4 – Wall poster

5 – CD-ROM


The Early Years Foundation Stage – is a central part of the ten year childcare strategy:

- Ensuring a consistent approach to care and learning from birth to the end of the Foundation Stage.

- Incorporating elements of the National Standards.

- Has a play-based approach

- Focuses on stages of development rather than chronological, age based teaching and learning

The overarching aim of the EYFS is to help children achieve the Every Child Matters five outcomes:

1. Staying safe

2. Being healthy

3. Enjoying and achieving

4. Making a positive contribution

5. Achieving economic wellbeing

The EYFS aims to help children achieve the 5 outcomes by:
1. Setting standards

2. Promoting Equality of opportunity

3. Creating a framework for partnership working

4. Improving quality and consistency

5. Laying a secure foundation for future learning and development


The EYFS principles are grouped into 4 themes

1. A unique child.

Principle – Every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured

2. Positive Relationships

Principle – Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person

3. Enabling Environments

Principle – The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning

4. Learning and Development

Principle – Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of learning and development are equally important and inter-connected.


There are 5 Welfare Requirements

1. Safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare

2. Suitable person

3. Suitable premises, environment and equipment

4. Organisation

5. Documentation


For each Welfare requirement there are:

General requirements

Specific requirements

Statutory Guidance to which providers should have regard (Further information is provided in the Practice guidance)



There are six stages of development and each one is matched, in all 6 areas of learning, to a photo of a baby or child in the practice guidance. The stages overlap: 

1. Birth to 11 months

2. 8 to 20 months

3. 16 to 26 months

4. 22 to 36 months

5. 30 to 50 months

6. 40 to 60 months (can be 71 mths for a September born child)

Stages are more important than ages and every area of development IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT
Physical, cognitive, linguistic, spiritual, social, emotional.

In order for children to learn successfully they need to be in a secure environment which is physically comfortable. Children can spend long days in a setting and need to have space where they can relax and rest.

Babies and young children make learning connections in their brains faster and better in an enriched environment. Adult interactions which help support and extend their learning make a big difference to learning, as does physical activity during the session.


The EYFS is made up of six areas of learning and development

1. Personal, Social and Emotional development (PSED)

2. Communication, Language and Literacy (CLL)

3. Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy (PSRN)

4. Knowledge and Understanding of the World (KUW)

5. Physical development (PD)

6. Creative development (CD)

These areas are equally important, connected and underpinned by the Principles of the EYFS.


Each child in a group setting must be assigned a Key Person

A record of the names of each child’s key person must be kept

A key person has special responsibilities for working with a small number of children, giving them reassurance to feel safe and cared for and building relationships with their parents

In settings where there are staff working shifts it will be necessary to ensure that key persons are at the setting when their key children are dropped off or collected so that good relationships can be developed with the family. In schools it may be necessary to meet with new parents and carers to explain that each child has a key person who may be the teacher or teaching assistant. Headteachers will need to ensure that staff have time to discuss issues and share information.

A key person plays a vital role in a child’s life and must demonstrate consistency, sensitivity and be responsive to the child’s needs. They must engage, interact and connect with a child and their family. They will observe, assess, record and plan.


The planning cycle STARTS with observation – ie. Detailed observations inform planning.

Schedules and routines should flow with the children’s needs. All planning starts with observing children in order to understand their current interests, development and learning. (card 3.1, observation, assessment and planning.

Long term planning

Focuses on the environment and the role of the practitioner in supporting learning

Supports high quality self-selected and child-initiated play and learning

Changes over time to reflect changing interests

Short term planning

Should be based on observation

Is flexible

Challenges children’s thinking

Extends children’s learning experiences

Medium term planning 3+ (can be kept as a ‘bank’ of plans)

Should be based on children’s interests and predictable foci throughout the year (can incorporate unplanned activities)


Should be shared with parents, carers and children

Chronologically arranged profiles make it easier for families to include material and show progress.

A cross reference section can be kept in the back to cross reference evidence of progress in the 6 areas of learning

Should include details from home visits, on-entry and transition information

Should include dated and annotated observations, photos and samples of work, children’s comments, parent/carer comments, formative and summative assessments and summary statements and reports

Used to inform planning and as a tool to support learning and areas of interest

This summary contains information and extracts from the EYFS Statutory Framework and the Practice Guidance for the EYFS, published by the Department for Education and Skills, 2007


under5s - Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage
home> Under5s Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage