Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years. It is a statutory framework that all Ofsted-registered early years providers, child-minders, preschools and maintained schools must meet.

The framework supports an integral approach to early learning and care and it gives professional a set of common principles and commitments to deliver quality early education and childcare experiences to all children.

The EYFS aims to provide:

  • quality and consistency in all early years settings
  • a secure foundation for all children for good progress through school and life
  • partnerships between different practitioners
  • partnerships between parents or carers and practitioners
  • equality of opportunity for all children

A revised EYFS in September 2012 reduces burdens, including unnecessary regulation and paperwork, so professionals have more time to concentrate on supporting children. An updated EYFS came into effect on 1 September 2014. The changes included amendments to the safeguarding and welfare requirements.


There are assessments when a child is aged between two and three years (EYFS Progress Check at 2 Years Old) and at the end of the academic year when they turn five. These are not tests for the child. The assessments are based on EYFS practitioners’ observations. These observations are recorded throughout their time at nursery and added to their individual EYFS profile.

Information from these assessments are used for parents, practitioners and teachers to support children’s learning and development. Early years learning concentrates on seven areas split between prime and specific areas of learning.

The prime areas of learning are:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development

The specific areas of learning are:

  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design

Teaching is often done through play, where the child learns about subjects and other people through games.

EYFS profile

At the end of the academic year when a child turns five, the practitioner records each child’s development by watching the child through play. The completed assessment is known as the ‘early years foundation stage profile’. This is used to support the child’s transition from early educational setting to school and help the year 1 teacher plan the appropriate lessons.