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Our Favourite Ways of Understanding the Early Years Foundation Stage Part 1: The Basics

If you wonder what the EYFS encompasses, what it's based on or what the goals are, our new series aims to bring you the answers to all your questions


If you have children under 5 and live in the UK, the letters EYFS will be familiar to you. The Early Years Foundation Stage is the framework for learning, development and care of those under 5. The EYFS guidelines are followed by all Ofsted registered settings.

Over the year we'll be delving into what EYFS is, and how it relates to children of different ages.

This instalment is about gaining a basic understanding of EYFS and how it relates to your child's learning.

EYFS framework is based on four principles:

  • Every child is unique, is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
  • Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
  • Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers and
  • Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.

The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. Using an integrated approach to learning, the EYFS framework allows educators to use the common principles to give all students a quality education.

The EYFS principles aim to foster children who are:

  • Strong - understanding who they are, developing a sense of self assurance and learning to belong
  • Skilful Communicators - learning to talk as well as listen
  • Competent Learners - developing creativity and imagination
  • Healthy - keeping mind, body and spirit happy and healthy

Within the foundations of the EYFS structure, there are seven areas of learning, three prime areas and four specific areas.

Prime Areas of Learning

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Aiding a child in developing a sense of self, encouraging the formation of positive relationships, social skills, and self confidence.

Communication and Language Development

Developing a child's confidence in the way they express themselves, through all mediums of communication, including written and spoken word.

Physical Development

Focusing on coordination, movement and manipulation, as well as encouraging healthy lifestyle choices.

Specific Areas of Learning


Encouraging children to link letters and sounds and introducing them to a wide variety of materials and topics.


From counting to calculating simple sums, and describing shapes and spaces to understanding how we use numbers in daily life.

Understanding the World

Through observing the people, places and things around them, children explore and discover the world.

Expressive Art and Design

Curiosity and play are ingrained in learning, providing children with the opportunity to be creative and learning to express themselves through more than just words.

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