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The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the framework that sets the standards for the learning, development and care of children in the United Kingdom from birth to 5 years old. It is the framework that is most widely adopted in the UAE for this age, ensuring an integrated approach to early learning and care, with a common set of principles and commitments for delivering quality early education and childcare experiences..

By using the EYFS framework, parents can have the confidence that regardless of where they choose for their child’s early education, they can be assured that the same statutory commitments and principles will underpin their child’s learning and development experience.

The EYFS guidance material Development Matters, states that all children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments.

The four themes of the EYFS underpin all the guidance –

1. A Unique Child
Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.

• understand and observe each child’s development and learning, assess progress, plan for next steps
• support babies and children to develop a positive sense of their own identity and culture
• identify any need for additional support
• keep children safe
• value and respect all children and families equally

2. Positive Relationships
Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.

Positive relationships are…
• warm and loving, and foster a sense of belonging
• sensitive and responsive to the child’s needs, feelings and interests
• supportive of the child’s own efforts and independence
• consistent in setting clear boundaries
• stimulating
• built on key person relationship

​3. Enabling Environments
4. Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.

Enabling Environments…
• value all people
• value the learning they offer
• have stimulating resources, relevant to all the children’s cultures and communities
• offer rich learning opportunities through play and playful teaching
• support children to take risks and explore

4. Learning and Development
Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development.

They foster the characteristics of effective early learning through –
• Playing and exploring
• Active learning
• Creating and thinking critically

There are seven areas of learning and development that all EYFS teachers use for their lesson planning –

Prime AreasPrime AreasPersonal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
• Making relationships
• Self confidence and self awareness
• Managing feelings and behaviour​Physical Development (PD)
• Moving and handling
• Health and self-care

​Communication and Language (CL)
• Listening and attention
• Understanding
• Speaking

​Specific Areas
• Reading & Writing

• Numbers, shapes, space and measurements​

Understanding the World
• People and communities, the world, technology​

Expressive Arts and Design
• Exploring and using media and materials
• Being imaginative​

EYFS & Montessori
The EYFS takes much inspiration from the principles of Montessori and many nurseries choose to integrate more and more Montessori philosophies into their EYFS curriculum. You can read more about this here – Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage in Montessori Setting