Early years foundation stage

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Early years providers, as well as schools, have to follow a structure of learning, development and care for children from birth to five years old. This is called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and it enables your child to learn through a range of activities.


The EYFS has seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. Three of the learning areas are particularly crucial for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas are called the 'Prime' areas and are:

  • Communication and Language

  • Physical Development

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development


We also have to support children in four 'Specific' areas of learning which are:

  • Literacy

  • Mathematics

  • Understanding the World

  • Expressive Arts and Design.

At Busy Bees, our educational programme must involve activities and experiences for children as follows:

  • Communication and Language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves, and to speak and listen in a range of situations.


  • Physical Development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement.  Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food.


  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behavior in groups, and to have confidence in their own abilities.


  • Literacy Development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write.  Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.


  • Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.


  • Understanding the World involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology, and the environment.


  • Expressive Arts and Design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology.


In order to meet the above criteria, we will consider children's individual needs, interests and stage of development.  We will use our own observations plus information from parents to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child.  For the younger children in our care, the main focus will the three prime areas of learning.  However, as children grow and develop, the balance will shift to a more equal focus on both the prime areas and specific areas of learning.  Key Persons monitor your child's development using the 'Development Matters' document which consists of development statements across age bands.  However, we recognise that children develop at different rates and in their own ways and therefore the Development Matters document will not be used as a checklist but rather a guide to a typical range of development.  A link to the Development Matters document is at the bottom of this page for you to refer to should you wish.  If at any point, your child's progress in any of the prime areas becomes a cause for concern, your child's key person will discuss the matter with you and we will develop a plan to support your child.


Each area of learning and development will be implemented through planned, purposeful play and a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity.  Busy Bees value the importance of play and it's important for a child's development.  We will respond to each child's emerging needs and interests and the key person will guide the child's development through warm, positive interaction.  In planning and guiding activities, practitioners will have knowledge of and reflect on the different ways children learn.  Three characteristics of learning are:


  • Playing and Exploring - children investigate and experience things and 'have a go'

  • Active Learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements

  • Creating and Thinking Critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.

Your child's progress is recorded in their online Learning Journey which we encourage parents to contribute to.  The Learning Journey includes photos, videos, observations and thoughts in your child's own words.  The children are able to use their Learning Journeys to reflect on their own learning and development.  

We would appreciate it if you could make full use of the Learning Journey by using it to upload your own photos and notes about your child's development.



If you have any questions about the Early Years Foundation Stage or your child's progress, please speak to your child's key person in the first instance.  Your key person is the person at Busy Bees who will know your child the best.  If you still have further questions, please address them with the Manager, Emma Davis.  We want you to have access to as much information as we do and therefore we have included documents which we hope will help.


Below, you will find a link to the parents' guide on the new EYFS. We have also included a link to the Development Matters part of the EYFS which illustrates the age bands and levels of progress expected.

In September 2021, a revised EYFS comes into effect.  Staff are already getting to grips with this and will be spending the summer familiarising themselves with the changes in readiness for the autumn term.