The Revised Early Years Foundation Stage
At Young Friends we believe the years from birth to five to be the most special of a child’s life. In these years we see the most rapid growth and learning for all children. Learning begins at birth for every child. At Young Friends we believe that early learning is the key to a child’s future. We believe that families, other close people and a high quality stimulating setting make all the difference at this crucial stage in a child’s life. Young Friends uses the Revised Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum.
What is the Revised EYFS?
The Revised EYFS is the ‘new and simpler version’ of the ‘old EYFS’. It dictates the learning strategies that settings should put in place for the stage in a child’s development from birth to the end of their reception year at school. The Framework describes how early years practitioners should work with children and their families to support their development and learning. It describes how your child should be kept safe and cared for and how all with their regular contact can make sure that your child achieves the most that they can in their earliest years of life.
A few facts about the revised, simpler framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage:
In September 2012 it is legally required that all nurseries put the ‘revised framework’ into place. Below is a description of the main points and how we at Young Friends are going to implement it. Most nurseries, including Young Friends, are embracing the new improved framework with open arms.
The revised curriculum reduces the number of early learning goals from 69 to 17, gives more focus to the main areas of learning that are most essential for children’s health and development and simplifies assessment at age five. It also provides earlier intervention for children who need extra help with a progress check at age two.
The Government has reduced paperwork for professionals to allow them to exercise their judgment and crucially spend more time interacting with the children and best meeting their needs. Though for some settings this may mean less direction in the nursery day, this is a welcome ‘improvement’ for us. This is because we have a really high quality team that are capable of using this to the children’s advantage.
This enables us as a nursery to help get the children prepared for the transition to schoo’ in our own passionate and knowledgeable way.
Quote: The ‘Children’s Minister’, Sarah Teather said: “What really matters is making sure a child is able to start school ready to learn, able to make friends and play, ready to ask for what they need and say what they think. These are critical foundations for really getting the best out of school.” We agree.
The main changes in our Nursery will be:
The new EYFS maintains a lot of the same principles and characteristics of its predecessor but there are some notable changes:
It simplifies the statutory assessment of children’s development at age five and the learning and development requirements by reducing the number of early learning goals from 69 to 17.
There is a new and welcome focus on three prime areas which are the foundations for children’s ability to learn and develop healthily. These are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development;
- Communication and Language;
- Physical development
Within these should be four areas of learning where these skills are applied. These are:
- Expressive Arts and Design
- Understanding the World.
With the three new prime areas of learning, a greater emphasis on making sure children have the basic social, emotional communication and language skills they need to learn and thrive at school. You know, things like being able to make friends and listen effectively. The prime areas cover the knowledge and skills that are the foundations for children’s school readiness and future progress and which are applied and reinforced by the specific areas.
The main changes for parents and carers:
For parents, there will be a useful new progress check at age two on their child’s development. This links with the Healthy Child review carried out by health visitors, this is to help identify any early problems or special educational needs in order for your child to get any additional support needed before they start school.
Childcare providers such as Young Friends Nursery will carry out these reviews on your child’s progress between the ages of 2 and 3. We aim to complete these within two months of their second birthday; dependent on when your child has joined the nursery (of course we will need to get to know each child before we can complete the check).
A short written summary has now become mandatory to nursery settings to complete, which should be provided for parents and carers. This will highlight achievements as well as any areas that may need support, whilst also describing how the provider will address any issues.
At Young Friends we also complete an effective termly written summery/report for each child, no matter what age. We do this because we feel that keeping you up to date with achievements and ways forward is vitally important in order to encourage the individual healthy development of our children.
So, we follow and support the Revised EYFS Framework by firstly separating each group’s space into the new ‘seven’ Areas of Learning (described above):
- Personal, Social and Emotional development
- Communication and Language
- Understanding The World
- Physical Development
- Expressive Arts and Design
And also adhering to the following:
- Planning a wide range of experiences for children to learn both indoors and outside in our beautiful garden.
- Working alongside the children, observing them and planning further activities based on each child’s needs and interests.
- Providing regular opportunities for the children to enjoy experiences with the whole group. These might be singing, dancing, preparing for snack and meal times, cooking, circle time, garden games, stories and more.
- Providing opportunities for every child to take part in smaller group activities carefully planned by our professional staff in order to meet every child’s needs.
- Making sure that every child has consistent opportunities to choose their own activities from a broad range both indoors and outdoors. All equipment is within the children’s reach and/ or clearly labeled with photographs and words so they can exercise independence and self-choice.
- Understanding and making sure that play is promoted as the key way in which the children learn.
- Providing a very wide and exciting range of experiences that ensure the thorough covering of all six areas of learning.
- By carrying out informal observations and assessments on each child’s learning and development. This will contribute to the EYFS profile in their Reception Year.
- Ensuring excellent communication with parents, carers, children, professionals and amongst members of staff so as to enable every child to flourish whilst feeling secure and calm.
- Openly appreciating and promoting each child’s individual characteristics, likes and dislikes, talents etc. and helping them to develop in all areas with these at the front of our minds.
- Using open ended questions and ‘sustained shared thinking’. We use our professional knowledge and bonds with the children as individuals to ‘stretch’ their minds using conversation and interaction. We encourage the children to explore and question the world around them in order to develop understanding and extend communication skills.
- Using language consistently and reinforcing children’s achievements in speech and language so that they feel proud and so that their understanding is more deeply embedded each time.
- Applying all areas of development to all opportunities. Even though each area is clearly labeled for their children’s understanding, at Young Friends we recognize that all of these areas intertwine and overlap at every turn.
- Offering a ‘principled play based approach to learning and development.
- Working with parents and professionals balancing confidentiality with openness for the ultimate good of every child.
- By remembering that parents/carers know more about their child than anyone else. We make sure that information is shared and updated regularly about every child’s progress. We have various forms of communication but ultimately we are friendly, knowledgeable and we care about the development of each child.
- Taking the children on regular outings so they can learn from their everyday environment.
- Letting children of all ages play together but also providing age appropriate equipment and focused times apart so as to benefit from each other but still challenge each other and themselves.
- Training our staff and supporting them in their careers so they are satisfied in their work and trained to the highest standard in all areas of childcare.
- Devoting all our professional time and energy into making sure every child has lots of fun!
The Early Years Foundation stage is changing in the coming months. The basics are staying the same but paperwork is to be streamlined. At Young Friends we are really glad it is not changing too much as we enjoy working with the EYFS. The new curriculum will be adopted by Young Friends in September 2012. Watch this space for more information over the summer.
For more detailed information regarding the Revised EYFS please contact Louise or Ben at Young Friends and/or log onto the EYFS website at www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/eyfs