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Parents' guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a document for early years childcare providers to help them support children's learning and development from birth to five years. It is followed by childcare providers offering Free childcare for 2 year olds (FEET) and Free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.

The EYFS sets out what all early years childcare providers must do to make sure that your child learns and develops. It promotes teaching and learning to make sure that all children have the skills to get them ready to progress through school and future life.

When your child starts with an early years childcare provider they will be assigned a key person who will make sure that their learning and care is tailored to meet their individual needs.

The key person will look, listen and note how they play and then build on this by planning a challenging environment to support your child's development. You can also share what you see your child doing with their key person. They can also give you ideas on what you can do at home with your child.

Progress reviews

Your child's learning will have ongoing reviews including two key assessments:

If your child moves between early years providers between the ages of two and three, the review will usually be done by the early years childcare provider where your child spends the most time. Your childcare provider must give you a short written summary of your child's development in the three prime areas of learning and development when your child is aged between 24 and 36 months.

  • The second is in the final term of the year in which they reach the age of 5, using the EYFS Profile.

This will assess your child's development against 17 early learning goals which are linked to the goals in "Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage" between the ages of 40 and 60 months.

Your child's school or early years provider has to share the results of the profile with you. A copy will also be given to your child's Year 1 teacher to help plan activities which meet the stage of their development and learning needs.

Your early years childcare provider must also make sure your child has enough opportunities to learn and reach a good standard in English language during the EYFS. If your child's home language is not English, their early years provider must give opportunities for your child to develop and use their home language in play and learning, supporting their language development at home.

If you're worried about your child's progress, talk to your early years childcare provider and together you can agree how to support your child.

Further reading

You can find out more about the Early Years Foundation Stage on the gov.uk website.

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