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What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

Although many parents who send their children to nursery simply want to know that their little ones are safe and happy during the hours they need to be at work, national standards ensure that all nurseries are also following a programme to help children start school with basic skills.

It’s not about hard work and study, but through play and toddler-friendly activities, the Early Years Foundation Stage programme can enhance your child’s ability to communicate, to understand and to take on new ideas.

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)?

Any school or registered early years provider within the private, independent or even voluntary sectors which offers care for children from birth to five years must follow the EYFS programme.

As well as all school nurseries and reception classes, this also includes day nurseries, childminders, playgroups, after school and breakfast clubs, holiday playschemes and Sure Start Children’s Centres. However, it does not apply to nannies, short term cheches or mother and toddler groups. It includes all privately run nurseries.

The aim of EYFS is to even out the care of young children, to ensure that they are all getting a good foundation in welfare, learning and general development. It takes into account varying levels of ability, social background and other needs such as disability.

Why is the Early Years Foundation Stage important?

EYFS is not set to be a tough education programme, but a system where all parents can be sure that their children are learning through play, that as parents they will have access to how care is being provided and how their child is progressing, regardless of how much the childcare costs or where they live.

Increasing numbers of children starting school arrive without basic communication skills that will be vital for their social, emotional and educational development. The EYFS ensures that children attending nurseries, spending time with Ofsted-registered childminders and attending many other schemes are enjoying the building blocks that will help them with these important skills, whilst still be allowed to play and have fun as small children.

EYFS and your child’s nursery

The EYFS is put in place to ensure a good starting point for all nurseries and other early years childcare settings. However, its principles are common to what the best nurseries have been doing for years: encouraging small children to try new experiences in a playful and reassuring situation, enjoying imaginative play and making new friends, learning to share, listen, express and simply to put their own coats on!

If you want to find out more about what the Early Years Foundation Stage is about, you can download a useful leaflet for parents from the*Department for Children, Schools and Families website.

Nurseries have lots of wonderfully imaginative ways to enrich children’s daily experience. Tell us about your child’s nursery, what makes it unique, and what your child likes best about it.  Simply log on and go to my area to find your nursery where you can leave your review.

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