What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

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At a glance

The EYFS framework sets out welfare and developmental goals for children five years and under.

What is the EYFS?

The Early Years Foundation Stage is a framework for children up to the age of five, setting out six key areas of learning around which activities should be based.

What does the EYFS cover?

It covers the welfare and development of children.

The welfare section covers:

  • Basic checks, such as ensuring staff have undergone all relevant security checks
  • Facilities and equipment safe and suitable for children
  • Quality of the environment, for example, it recommends there should be some access to outdoor space

The development section covers:

  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Communication, language and literacy
  • Problem solving, reasoning and literacy
  • Knowledge and understanding of the world
  • Physical development
  • Creative development

Where does the EYFS apply?

All childcare providers except mother and toddler groups, nannies and short-term crèches have to be registered and inspected by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education. The EYFS, therefore, applies to:

  • reception and nursery classes in maintained and independent schools
  • day nurseries
  • childminders
  • playgroups
  • after school and breakfast clubs
  • holiday playschemes
  • Sure Start Children’s Centres

In England a parent can ask a childcare provider for their Ofsted unique registration number (URN) and use this to check their registration on Ofsted's website: www.ofsted.gov.uk/Ofsted-home/Inspection-reports.

How will 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. You can ask to see this information, share your own impressions and build on what your child is learning at home.

How can I find out more?

To find out more, visit www.direct.gov.uk/eyfs

Northern Island, Scotland, Wales, Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man

The Statutory Framework for the EYFS only applies to England. Each jurisdiction within the British Isles has its own arrangements for childcare & early years education.

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