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The Early Years Foundation Stage


The recognition of the importance of a child’s early years is stated within the opening paragraph of the revised Early Years Foundation Stage document.


‘Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age 5 have a major

impact on their future life chances.’          (Department For Education, 2012)


There are seven areas of learning that cover the Early Years Foundation Stage; this starts from birth and progresses to the end of Reception year at school. All areas of learning and development are important and are inter-connected.

Three of the areas are particularly crucial for building children’s capacity for learning. They are the foundations and are known as the prime areas:

1. Personal, Social and Emotional development

2. Physical development

3. Communication and language


There are then four specific areas through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied:


4. Literacy

5. Mathematics

6. Understanding the world

7. Expressive arts and design

Spray painting on a large scale outside

Designing a race track

Practitioners recognise that the ways in which a child engages with their environment and the people around them underpins learning and development across all of the areas. These characteristics of effective learning support the unique child in becoming an effective and motivated learner:


Playing and exploring (engagement) through finding out and exploring, playing with what they know and being willing to ‘have a go’


Active learning (motivation) through being involved and concentrating, enjoying achieving what they set out to do and keeping on trying


Creating and thinking critically (thinking) through having their own ideas, making links, and choosing ways to do things.


For more information on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and a parent’s guide please visit

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