Quality of Education

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The Foundation Stage is the period of time from birth to the end of the reception year. The Early Years Foundation Stage (2021) is the national guidance for care, learning and development Changes to the early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) It provides a framework for thinking about stages of learning and development in a way that will support each child’s individual needs. The EYFS is based on four themes which underpin everything we do:

A Unique Child – treating each child as an individual and valuing them for their contributions, helping each child to feel valued, recognising that each child learns and develops at different rates, and will come from their own unique family context.

Learning and Development – active play and exploration, creativity and promoting each child’s learning and development potential in the EYFS seven areas of development with an emphasis on the personal and social development, physical development and health, communication and language.

Enabling Environments – providing an indoor and outdoor environment to help children explore their world within and beyond the setting, using a range of open-ended materials.

Positive Relationships – helping children feel a sense of belonging and developing positive relationships through interacting with other children and adults, whilst being sensitive to the needs of others.

Based on national government frameworks (also followed in all Local Authority nurseries and school reception classes) the emphasis is on laying firm foundations for children, through a programme which leads to towards the National ‘Early Learning Goals’. These are the goals which most children are expected to be able to achieve by the end of their reception year.

Your child will have opportunities to learn through play and the three characteristics of effective learning.

  • Playing and Exploring
  • Active Learning
  • Creating and Thinking Critically

The EYFS Learning and Development Requirements are used as a starting point to assess, observe, and support your child’s learning and development across a range of areas of learning, for example Communication and Language, or Expressive Arts and Design.

The EYFS also sets out a number of Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements for example Child Protection, Behaviour and Attitudes and Safe Recruitment. Pathways routinely uses these standards as a minimum guide to good practice.

Development Matters 2021

Outdoor Learning

The 7 areas of learning are promoted outdoors as well as indoors. Children are encouraged to climb, balance, run and jump. They build dens, explore, investigate, discover and create. They keep fit and become aware of health and safety. They learn to care for and respect the natural world as they collect conkers and climb trees. ‘Children encounter risk every day and it is important that they learn how to enjoy themselves but also stay safe. No one wants a world where children, in fact anyone, is wrapped in cotton wool, prevented from taking any risks and scared of endeavour’ (Health and Safety Executive 2007).

+Personal, social and emotional development

■ Making relationships
■ Self-confidence and self-awareness
■ Managing feelings and behaviour

+Communication and language

■ Listening and attention - Listening to and retelling stories, singing songs and rhymes
■ Understanding - Taking part in group discussions and role play
■ Speaking - Talking about experiences, learning new words, asking and answering questions

+Physical development

■ Moving and handling - Use of small and large
apparatus, slides, hoops, balls, etc. to develop spatial awareness, co-ordination and balance
■ Health and self care - Developing awareness of healthy eating, exercise and personal independence, oral hygiene, hand washing

+Understanding the world

■ People and communities - Talking about the past and present, visits and visitors
■ The world - mini-topics, sand, water, mud kitchen, gardening, interest trays
■ Technology - Construction play, information
technology, cameras and programmable toys


■ Reading - Sharing and enjoying books, recognising familiar words and their names. Recognising some letter sounds and shapes, familiarity with print and pre-reading skills
■ Writing - Using marks, pictures, letters and words to communicate meaning, drawing and pencil control skills
■ Letters and sounds - Phase 1
■ Rhymes to link letters, sounds and words

+Expressive Arts and Design

■ Exploring and using media and materials
- Use chalk, paint, glue, crayons and felts
■ Explore senses - spaghetti, rice, sawdust,
clay and playdough, teabags, feely box
and smelly jars!
■ Being imaginative - Use imagination
- role play and dressing up
■ Explore sound - music


■ Fostering a love of mathematics
■ Numbers - number recognition, number rhymes, counting
■ Shape, space and measures - sort, match and compare using real objects
■ Making patterns, problem solving
■ Mathematical vocabulary