What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

The Early Years Foundation Stage, which became statutory in September 2008, is the period of education from birth to five years old. The foundation stage curriculum is delivered from nursery through to reception.

Play is an integral part of the foundation stage curriculum. It is recognised that through play, children can explore, develop and use their curiosity and imagination to help them make sense of the world.

The curriculum is delivered through a combination of whole class activities, adult led, and child initiated activities.

Learning and development

There are seven areas of learning and development which for the basis of the foundation stage curriculum.

Three prime areas:

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

Four specific areas:

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

Within the reception class, the children work towards seventeen ‘early learning goals’ following a ‘best fit’ approach to judgement. Most children are expected to achieve the early learning goals by the end of the foundation stage (reception class).