What is the

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)?

If your child attends an Ofsted registered early years setting, your setting will be following a set of legal requirements produced by the Department of Education called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). These standards are put in place to make sure that children aged from birth to 5 learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe.

It’s important to note that the EYFS was first published by the Government in 2014 but has recently been updated. From September 2021, all early years providers must follow the new early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework.

You can familiarise yourself with the new EYFS framework.:

Learning and development requirements for

Children in the Early Years

  1. The seven areas of learning and development

    and the educational programmes

  2. The early learning goals

    which summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that all young children should have gained by the end of the reception year

  3. The assessment requirements

    when and how practitioners must assess children’s achievements, and when and how they should discuss children’s progress with parents and/or carers

Childcare providers have the freedom to create their own curriculum which will lay out what they want the children to learn in the time they are with the setting. It must be based on the statutory early years foundation stage (EYFS), which gives a framework to build on, through the 7 areas of learning.

Who is the framework for?

Ofsted carry out inspections and report on the quality and standards of your Early Years setting using Early Years Foundation Stage.

If you would like to check a settings Ofsted report, these are published at

What does the

EYFS mean for parents/carers?

The EYFS is in place to ensure your children get the best start to life. When your child first starts their journey with their childcare provider, your provider must make the following information available to you as a parent/carer:

  • how the EYFS will be delivered in the setting 
  • how parents and/or carers can access more information about the EYFS 
  • the range and type of activities and experiences provided for children; the daily routines: how parents and carers can share learning at home how the setting supports children with special educational needs and disabilities 
  • food and drinks provided for children 
  • details of policies and procedures
  • staffing levels in the setting; the name of their child’s key person and their role; and a telephone number for parents and/or carers to contact in an emergency. 

Early Years Providers must work in partnership with parents and/or carers, to promote the learning and development of all children in their care, and to ensure they are ready to transition into reception..
They must guide the development of children’s capabilities with a view to ensuring that children in their care complete the EYFS ready to benefit fully from the opportunities ahead of them. This is set out in the Learning and development requirements.

The seven areas of learning and development

There are 3 prime areas. These are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving. 

Physical Development

Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination, and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults.

By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, coordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye coordination, which is later linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools, with feedback and support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.

Personal, Social, Emotional Development

Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for
children to lead healthy and happy lives and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others.

Children should be supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and wait for what they want and direct attention as necessary. Through adult modelling and guidance, they will learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and manage personal needs independently. Through supported interaction with other children, they learn how to make good friendships, co-operate, and resolve conflicts peaceably. These attributes will provide a secure platform from which children can achieve at school and in later life.

Comunication and Language

The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial.

By commenting on what children are interested in or doing and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children’s language effectively. Reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes, and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, storytelling, and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their practitioner, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures.

There are 4 specific areas through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. These are:


It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading.

Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing).


Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically.

Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding, such as employing physical objects that are used as teaching tools to engage the children in the hands-on learning of the mathematics (e.g., blocks, shapes, pebbles, coloured tiles), children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.


Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community.

The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and fire fighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.


The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity.

It is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self- expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe.

Assessment Requirements

Reducing unnecessary paperwork is a key aim of the new Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. This is so your child’s key person can spend more time engaging with your child. 

Every child is unique and their developmental progression from birth to five across the prime and specific areas of learning will follow an individual path. At any one point in time, a child may appear to be more developed in some areas than in others. Likewise, periods of rapid development in one area may be followed by a slower rate or development in other areas for a period of time. 

What assessments should I expect from my childcare setting? 

Assessment in the EYFS is of two main types – on-going assessment which is what practitioners do on a daily basis to make decisions about what the child has learned or can do already to help the child move on in their learning. Another type of assessment known as ‘summative’ assessment takes place twice in the Revised EYFS. Firstly, when a child is between 24 and 36 months – usually called a two-year check. Outcomes of this assessment are recorded and discussed with parents in order to identify a child’s strengths and their learning needs; the second assessment takes place towards the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage when children are in the final term of the reception class. 

6 weeks after your child has joined Ladybird Lane Nursery their key person will reflect on the child’s progress since starting using a baseline assessment. Their reflections are informed by the on-going assessment carried out and will support practitioners in knowing the child’s current level of achievement and interests, which will shape future teaching and learning experiences for each child reflecting that knowledge. 

Termly reports 

At the end of each term, your child’s key person will provide a holistic view of your child’s development, reflecting on their time spent in nursery, their progress during that term, and looking at next steps. Assessments and progress reports provide a record of and track the trajectory of your child’s growth in all areas of development: cognitive, physical/motor, language, social-emotional, and approaches to learning. Not only do assessments help ensure children are progressing, they also allow parents the opportunity to understand their child’s unique strengths and weaknesses. Termly reports assist parents and educators in clarifying future goals for children and creating a learning and development path. If you would like to get a copy of your child’s progress report (s) please email and we will be happy to print one for you.

Keeping in Touch with- Ladybird Lane

At Ladybird Lane we have an open-door policy and we strive to work in partnership with parents to promote the learning and development of all children in our care. Drop offs and picking up times can be a good opportunity to have a chat with our practitioners about your child’s day and discuss important updates. However, if you require a more in depth update you are always welcome to contact us by phone 020 8232 8839, or email to arrange a meeting to further discuss your child’s learning and development at Ladybird Lane.

We have a closed Facebook group for parents, which is usually available every Friday afternoon on our 'Fun with the Ladybirds group'. This provides an insight into some of the activities that the children have taken part in during the week and keeps you up to date with the topics we are exploring and the areas of learning and development we are focusing on.