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Early Years Foundation Stage

The framework for childcare and early education from birth to 5.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5.

All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.

Ofsted will inspect schools and settings equally against the EYFS. These reports are available for parents to view on the Ofsted website.

Areas of learning

The EYFS identifys 7 areas of learning. These are three prime areas:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development

and four specific areas:

  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding of the world
  • expressive arts and design.

Teaching is often done through play, where the child learns about subjects and other people through games.

How is my child getting on?

There are assessments when a child is aged between 2 and 3 years and at the end of the academic year when they turn 5. These are not tests for the child - the assessments are based on EYFS practitioners’ observations.

Information from these assessments are used for parents, practitioners and teachers to support children’s learning and development.

Early Years Foundation Stage profile

At the end of the academic year when a child turns 5, the practitioner records each child’s development by watching the child playing and in the classroom. The completed assessment is known as the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage profile’. This is used to help the Year 1 teacher plan lessons for the children.

Further information for parents

Read more in EYFS for parents It shows you how you can support your child during the foundation years and what you can expect from the professionals working with your child.

Search the Family Information Service directory to find out what childcare and early education is available in your area.