The Early Years Foundation Stage

The development of the Early Years Foundation Stage is a milestone in recognising and valuing our youngest children and the contribution made to their growth and development by the adults who work with them. It raises the status of work with this important age group and marks our commitment to providing a quality and effective service to children from birth to five years of age.

The purpose of the framework is to:

Value and celebrate babies and children

Recognise their individuality, efforts and achievements

Recognise that all children have, from birth, a need to develop learning through interaction with people and exploration of the world around them.

Acknowledges, values and supports the adults that work with babies and young children.

Informs and develops practice whilst acknowledging that working with babies and children is a complex, challenging and demanding task.

How the Framework is organised

The Framework identifies four Principles which celebrate the skill and competence of babies and young children. It highlights the interrelation between growth, learning, development and the environment in which they are cared for and educated.

These four ‘Principles’ are :

  • A Unique Child
  • Enabling Environments
  • Positive Relationships
  • Learning and Development

Characteristics of Effective Learning

The characteristics of effective learning underpin the learning and development across all the areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage to support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.

The Unique Child engages with other people and their environment through the Characteristics of Effective Learning;

  • Playing and exploring
  • Active learning
  • Creating and thinking critically


Areas of Learning

The EYFS is made up of 3 Prime Areas and 4 Specific Areas.

The Prime areas begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, and run through to support learning and development in all other areas.

The Prime Areas are:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development


The Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.

The Specific areas are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Expressive Arts & Design
  • Understanding the World

Please find further information regarding the Early Years Foundation Stage in our Early Years Foundation Stage Policy.