A lot of schools following the UK curriculum use a framework called EYFS. Parents often ask us what EYFS is and how it may potentially benefit their children. In this article, we will explain the key concepts of the EYFS framework and how it is not only advantageous, but instrumental in shaping your child’s learning process here at Mulberry House.
It is a known fact that children are born eager to learn. They actively wish to interact with others and their surroundings, making development a pivotal process that shapes their future. Yet, this development is shaped by the relationships a child has with others during early years and what experiences they come into contact with. To begin with, EYFS stands for Early Years Foundation Stage and is an integrated approach to early childhood education with the aim of developing children holistically. It is adopted by all educational institutions in England and many countries worldwide. EYFS sets four important principles that should shape educational practices:
- A unique child: EYFS posits that every child is unique and should be able to constantly learn so as to become resilient, confident and adaptable.
- Positive relationships: Children learn to become strong and independent individuals. This occurs through the formation of positive relationships.
- Enabling environments: An enabling environment is one in which children have their needs met. Within the EYFS framework, practitioners and parents/carers have a cooperative partnership; shaping a positive experience for children.
- Learning and development: Each child learns and develops in different ways and also at different rates. The framework takes this into account; aiming to nurture all children in the early years settings, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.
When was EYFS Introduced?
EYFS was first introduced in 2006 by the UK government through the Childcare Act. The purpose of it was to set standards in learning and welfare for children up to the age of 5. It is aimed at focusing on high quality childcare that supports children’s development and is adopted by many countries today.
Areas of learning for EYFS
The EYFS framework covers seven areas of learning that shape educational programmes. It is split into 3 prime areas and 4 specific areas. The prime areas are composed of basic, life-long skills that facilitate progress towards specific areas of learning. The specific areas of learning cannot be developed alone and depend on the skills gained in the prime areas of learning. In this way, all the elements are interconnected with one another, though the three prime areas of learning are particularly crucial as they focus on developmental milestones needed to ignite children’s enthusiasm for learning. It builds children’s capacity for learning and helps them form relationships required to thrive in an educational setting.
- Communication and language: refers to the development of self-expression. Schools try to maximise opportunities to foster good communication skills by having children learn under rich language environments. They should be able to speak and listen in a range of different situations and develop confidence during the process.
- Physical development: this area concerns physical wellbeing and schools will provide opportunities for children to exercise and stay active. Coordination, movement, control and interaction are some of the things expected in this area, alongside teaching children the importance of physical activity and healthy choices in their daily lives.
- Personal, social and emotional development: schools should help children develop a positive sense of self and others. The goal of this area is to help children learn the skills of forming positive relationships. For instance, children learn to respect one another and also manage their own feelings. They should also be able to understand appropriate and sensible behaviours. Teachers wish to build a sense of confidence in children where they begin to appreciate their own talents and abilities through trying out the many subjects involved in the set curriculum.
We previously mentioned that the four specific areas of learning build upon the prime areas of learning. Now we will explain these four areas in greater depth. It is useful to note that not every child may hit every goal as they develop at their own paces.
- Literacy development – concerns abilities to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of materials including poems, books or others to ignite interest in learning.
- Mathematics – children have opportunities to practise counting skills in the classroom. They are also taught basic maths and simple calculations alongside names of shapes and measurements.
- Understanding the world – helping children make sense of the world around them. Children are given rife opportunities to investigate, observe and explore the people, places and environment surrounding them.
- Expressive arts and design – children are able to play with a wide variety of mixed media. Educators should create space for them to share their thoughts, ideas or feelings. Self-expression is encouraged through activities in art, movement, dance and role-play etc.
In illustrating these key areas, we hope that you now have a greater understanding of the educational framework. In essence, through each of the seven stages children progress, they are able to develop new competencies that foster their curiosity in learning. At Mulberry House, we wish to create a safe space for children that nurtures their talents and interests, which is why the EYFS fits in so well with our pedagogy. Our EYFS curriculum is designed to equip your child with the wide range of skills needed to become life-long learners.