What is the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)?
The EYFS is a distinct and important phase in education. It places an equal priority on supporting children’s social and emotional development, and their learning. The early years are the crucial time for developing children’s enjoyment of learning, their engagement and motivation. It’s an important time for children to develop their ability to persist and show determination.
This is the stage in your child’s life that gets them ready and prepares them for school, as well as for their future learning and successes. The EYFS was created to ensure your child’s first 5 years are happy, active, exciting, fun and secure, as well as to support their development, care and learning needs.
All nurseries, pre-schools, reception classes and childminders who are registered to deliver the EYFS must follow a legal document called the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.
How your child will be learning:
Your child will be learning skills, acquiring knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- 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:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
At Cloverlea we believe in the holistic development of the learner through play, supported risk-taking and nature connection. Our curriculum works to support self-esteem, confidence, and communication, attitudes to learning and emotional development. We are extremely privileged to be able to take a large part of our learning outdoors which helps us to have a deeper connection with nature.
We approach each new half term with a topic and ideas based on this, to cover the 7 curriculum areas. We use our experiences of child development and the children's interests and needs to ensure we provide a relevant and appropriate curriculum. This long term planning is based around the seasons and other events in the calendar such as celebrations and festivals. We then follow the children’s interests and change topics as we get to know them, as they develop and from what we observe.
Children will explore what makes them unique, their similarities and differences as well as their family trees and where they’re from.
Snow and Ice and All Things Nice
We’ll be exploring and learning about all the key events during this festive time of year.
The Great Explorers!
We’ll be nature explorers this term by bird watching and spotting the signs of Spring.
We will also be finding out about the Arctic and Antarctica. We may even become space explorers!
All Things Bright and Beautiful
As Easter signifies growth and birth, we’ll be learning and observing the growth of animals and plants.
We’ll be acknowledging and discovering the people and vehicles that help us in our everyday life.
All Creatures Great and Small
From farm animals, wild animals to mini beast!
Our Early Years Connected Curriculum.
Science in EYFS is covered in the ‘Understanding the World’ area of the EYFS Curriculum. It is introduced indirectly through activities that encourage every child to explore, problem solve, observe, predict, think, make decisions and talk about the world around them.
Children explore creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments. They observe and manipulate objects and materials to identify differences and similarities. For example, they may look at an egg whisk, sand, paper and water to learn about things that are natural and manmade and their different functions. Children also learn to use their senses, feeling dough or listening to sounds in the environment, such as sirens or farm animals.
Children will be encouraged to ask questions about why things happen and how things work. They might do activities such as increasing the incline of a slope to observe how fast a vehicle travels, or opening a mechanical toy to see how it works. Children will also be asked questions about what they think will happen to help them communicate, plan, investigate, record and evaluate findings.
In EYFS they start by understanding their own history by talking to their parents and grandparents. It is chronologically in reverse as young children have very little understanding of time so it makes sense to start with their own personal history. They can then progress to understanding more about their parents and grandparents' histories before moving into KS1 where they learn about other aspects of the past. Children will also learn about the world around them and find out about the past through talking to parents, grandparents and friends. They will develop an interest in their own story as well as the stories in their family – this is the beginning of developing an understanding of the past and helps them to learn about how other people are different from them, yet share some of the same characteristics and ideas. Understanding of the World is the area of the EYFS curriculum that incorporates History. At this stage in a child’s life learning through play is vital, we have a curriculum that is child-centred and is based upon experiences and opportunities to learn alongside their chosen play, keeping them engaged and motivated. Teachers incorporate the goals within understanding the world during observations of play alongside careful use of questioning. Within ‘Understanding the world’, there is a new ELG entitled ‘Past and Present’. Weekly sessions of PSE allow for focused time on the subject, challenging children to talk about significant event in their lives. As well as exploring family related events. Teachers encourage children to compare and investigate.
Geographical learning in EYFS incorporates where children live, ensuring they have a good understanding of the world around them: their home, the people in it – diversity, their school and where they live. It introduces the idea that geography is the study of places and people through the umbrella of the specific learning area of Understanding the World within the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.
At this stage in a child’s life learning through play is vital, we have a curriculum that is child-centred and is based upon experiences and opportunities to learn alongside their chosen play, keeping them engaged and motivated. Teachers incorporate the goals within understanding the world during observations of play alongside careful use of questioning. Weekly sessions of PSE allow for focused time on the subject, challenging children to notice similarities, differences, patterns and change in the natural world. As well as exploring people who support their community and beginning to describe what they do. Teachers encourage children to compare and investigate.
The ‘Technology’ strand has now been removed from ‘Understanding the World’ and has not been replaced with any updated guidance. Computing in EYFS is centred around play-based, unplugged (no computer) activities that focus on building children’s listening skills, curiosity and creativity and problem solving.
Technology in the Early Years can mean:
- taking a photograph with a camera or tablet
- searching for information on the internet
- playing games on the interactive whiteboard
- exploring an old typewriter or other mechanical toys
- using a Beebot
- watching a video clip
- listening to music
Allowing children the opportunity to explore technology and often child-led way, means that not only will they develop a familiarity with equipment and vocabulary but they will have a strong start in Key Stage 1 Computing.
RE contributes to children’s development of Characteristics of Effective Learning in particular with regard to:
- Making links and noticing patterns in their experience (Creating and Thinking Critically - Making links)
- Showing curiosity about objects, events and people (Playing and Exploring – Finding out and exploring)
- Using senses to explore the world around them (Playing and Exploring – Finding out and exploring)
Representing their experiences in play (Playing and Exploring – Playing with what they know)
- Acting out experiences with other people (Playing and Exploring – Playing with what they know)
- The processes of exploration and reflection are important for the child.
- Learning from other views, cultures and beliefs supports children in developing their views and beliefs about themselves, their family and community.
- Learning about other views, beliefs and cultures supports children in developing positive attitudes towards them.
The EYFS refers to spiritual wellbeing, acknowledging the fact that children have experiences beyond the purely emotional. Their spiritual wellbeing is enhanced by recognising that children develop spiritually by exploring answers to their questions, developing their sense of place in the world and beyond.
In finding out about others, young children start reflecting on belief, culture and practice and explore faith through:
- visuals - photos, pictures
- toys and puppets
- handling real artefacts
- creativity – dance, drama, art and design
- non-fiction books
- using ICT
Expressive Arts and Design (EAD) is one of the areas of learning within the EYFS, it links directly to children's ability to be imaginative and creative in their play and learning. Music is part of this area.
Children are supported in their use of music as part of child-led play, whether singing songs, listening to music, dancing or playing instruments. Thus allowing them to express their creativity and emotions, as well as reaching a deeper level of musical understanding.
Exploring music in EYFS could mean:
- Demonstrating how to play certain instruments
- Encouraging children to perform together as a group
- Starting to sing a familiar song and play an instrument, encouraging others to join in
- Clapping or tapping out a beat
- Providing lyrics to a song
- Using familiar, everyday objects to create new instruments and sounds
- Demonstrating how to use your body and voice as instruments
- Searching for and watching videos showing traditional dances
- Learning and practising traditional dances together
- Using a safe search engine to find out more information or facts about particular dances or music types
- Searching for and listening to music together
- Finding out about different music relating to customs and festivals that are important to the children.
In the Revised Early Years Foundation Stage, EAD (Expressive Arts & Design) is broken down into two aspects:
- Exploring and Using Media and Materials
- Being Imaginative
To explore and develop Art & Design the following are provided:
- a mark-making area which includes as appropriate a range of materials, for example, paints, pencils, chalks, pastels, charcoal - a range of implements, for example, brushes, sponges, feathers, fingers
- papers of different textures, shapes, sizes, colours,
- other surfaces for mark making, for example, chalk boards, whiteboards, easels, large surfaces - drawing and painting activities using I.C.T.
- a range of pictures and books showing a variety of artistic styles and ways of representation, including different cultural contexts
A designing and making area to include:
- a wide range of materials, for example, fabrics, reclaimed materials, boxes, tubes, plastic cartons, bottle tops etc), card, paper - separating and joining tools, for example, scissors, tape, string, glue.
- malleable materials
- a variety of materials with and without tools in order for children to understand their properties, for example, playdough, clay, and plasticine
- opportunities to construct and design using materials without tools, for example, by squeezing, pressing, pulling, rolling, pinching, poking, stretching, tearing, moulding, etc.
- opportunities to construct and design using materials with tools, for example, by cutting, shaping, combing, grating, indenting, making patterns, holes, etc.
- a range of tools so children can make choices about what to use
IN EYFS, the aim of PE is to improve skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement, much of it taking place through free or lightly structured activity. So a child may dance while listening to a story, music CD or action rhyme.
Children will develop large motor skills through jumping, hopping, skipping, climbing and running, and also through playing with pedal and push-and-pull toys. The children will participate freely in these kinds of activities both indoors and outdoors.
Fine motor skills may be acquired by filling a container with sand, doing a puzzle or stringing beads. Children need these skills to do up buttons or laces and to hold a pen or pencil to write correctly. Children who practise and succeed in filling containers in the water tray will handle drinks more successfully and have the confidence to, for example, pour out their own drinks.
There are some language objectives in PE lessons, too. The teacher may introduce words for negotiation and co-operation, such as ‘share’, ‘wait’, ‘take turns’, ‘before‘ and ‘after’.
The children in EYFS are also encouraged to develop their Physical Development through planned continuous provision activities and specific programmes which support and develop their fine and gross motor skills. Pupils develop core strength, co-ordination and balance to enable them to reach the Early Learning Goal.
By the end of EYFS children should begin to develop fundamental movement skills, become increasingly competent and confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their special awareness, balance and coordination, individually and with others.
How do I know how my child is getting on?
It is important that both EYFS staff and parents work together, sharing information about the child, what they have done at home and in the nursery/school setting. There are various assessment steps throughout the EYFS but practitioners will continually be assessing and building on your child’s skills.
When your child starts in our setting, observations will be made to ascertain where your child is at their stage of development. As your child journeys through EYFS with us we will record observations on our ‘i-track’ assessment system that you will be able to access and comment on.
Throughout your time at Cloverlea you will be able to see what experiences and learning is taking place through our school Twitter, school website and Class DoJo.
How can I help as a parent?
Parents are essential partners in children’s early learning. Both the home and the early years setting can each do a great deal to support your child. We will achieve even more when we work co-operatively together in a respectful partnership.
As a parent or guardian we will encourage you to record ‘Wow moments’ that your child does with you so that we can all share in your child’s love for learning. These ‘Wow moments’, together with our i-tack observations will help us build a full picture of your child’s development.
Our Early Years Charter.
1.We are confident in nature.
We take measured risks when exploring the world around us. We are constantly learning and developing our knowledge of our environment.
2. We can work and play together.
We know that play helps us to learn and have fun. Working and playing together helps us to grow.
3. We enjoy talking about our experiences.
We show confidence by talking about ourselves, others and our experiences. This helps us to feel values and understood.
4. We look after our environment and everyone and everything in it.
We show care and ownership of our environment. We respect the world we live in and take pride in looking after each other.
5. We celebrate the communities we belong to.
We enjoy learning about what makes us special and unique. We celebrate our differences and share our experiences.
Our Nursery Classroom Video
Our Reception Class