The Early Years Foundation Stage

The early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of your child from birth to 5 years old.

All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.

Areas of learning

Your child will mostly be taught through games and play.

The areas of learning are:

3 Prime Areas

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development

4 Specific Areas

  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design

Observational assessment

Practitioners can use observational assessment to understand children’s learning. Practitioners watch, listen and interact as children engage in everyday activities, events and experiences, and demonstrate their specific knowledge, skills and understanding. Observational assessment is the most reliable way of building up an accurate picture of children’s development and learning. This is especially true where the attainment demonstrated is not dependent on overt adult support. Observational assessment is central to understanding what children really know and can do.

Child-initiated activity

Children with effective learning characteristics: 

  • are willing to have a go 
  • are involved and concentrating 
  • have their own ideas 
  • choose ways to do things  
  • find new ways of doing things  
  • enjoy achieving what they set out to do

To accurately assess these characteristics, practitioners need to observe learning which children have initiated rather than only focusing on what children do when prompted. Children need rich opportunities to initiate ideas and activities so that they can develop the learning characteristics which are assessed by the EYFS profile. These characteristics also support lifelong learning.


The EYFS is broken down into four age bands, called Development Matters bands: 16-26 months, 22-36 months, 30-50 months and 40-60 months.

For each age band, and each area of learning, there is a series of statements relating to a child’s development: for example, ‘notices simple shapes and patterns in pictures’. Teachers will tick off these developmental statements as they see your child demonstrating them.

Assessment is ongoing throughout the EYFS, but the official EYFS Profile for each child is completed in the final term of Reception. The class teacher will decide if children have achieved the Early Learning Goals for each area of learning at the end of Reception. Within each of the development matters bands there are three seperate achievement levels:

  • Entering: your child is beginning to show evidence of understanding in this age band
  • Developing: your child is developing further undersatnding within this age band
  • Secure: your child's knowledge is secure within this age band

On exit from FS1, practitioners would expect children to be secure within the 30-50 months age band or entering within the 40-60 months age band.

Your child’s teacher will award him one of these levels for each of the seven EYFS areas of learning. On leaving the Foundation Stage at the end of Reception, a child is considered to have a ‘good level of development’ if they have achieved at least the expected level in the Early Learning Goals in all aspects of PSE, Physical development, Communication and language, Literacy and Mathematics.

To find out more about the EYFS click on the link below:

The School Run


Phonics is the process whereby children begin to learn the sounds of letters or groups of letters to develop reading and writing.

The children in FS1 learn Phonics through games and rhymes. Children will learn to hear pattern and rhyme in the spoken word as well as Nursery Rhymes.

Children will also be taught the Letterland programme and Letters and Sounds to get them ready for reading and writing in FS2. Please access the link below for information of how you can support your child at home.

Letter Land - Parent Guide

Other websites that can support the acquisition of Phonics through games at home are:

Letters and Sounds - Resources

Phonics Play

High Frequency Words

As well as Phonics it is important that children learn a sight vocabulary of words that appear frequently in reading, we call these high frequency words. Children will have a Rainbow Word Book that they will bring home everyday, this will give them the opportunity to practise the words at home for 5 minutes everyday. Our aim is that children will learn High Frequency Word recognition a year ahead of Age Related Expectations; eg at the end of FS1 children will know all the words expected for FS2. As chidlren learn the words they will be rewarded with certificates and prizes in class to encourage them. Please click on the document below to see High Frequency Word Progression which details the words children will learn in each year group. 


Children can bring their book bag to school everyday. There will be a selection of books to choose from. The majority of these books we would expect families to share and talk about with their child; there is no requirement for child to be able to read at the end of FS1. Some children may become ready to read as they have become able to use phonics to blend and recognise some high frequency words, therefore we  provide a range of reading books which are available in the setting that you may want to share with your child. Please remember that story comprehension and understanding is the priority at this stage.  

At FS2 these books are colour coded according to the level that your child is reading. Children can change their book as often as they like and they can also select as many books as they wish. The books are an opportunity for children to practise their reading at home with you and enjoy sharing a book with their family. Please use the reading record as and when you like to communicate about your children's reading with school. Reading at school consists of small group Guided Reading sessions and whole class Reading Comprehension sessions. Children identified as needing intervention are targetted for Daily Reading. Children are assessed regularly to encouarge them to move up through the colour bands using PM Benchmark and rewarded with certificates and prizes. 

Reading is a priority our aim is to inspire children to read and love books. Talking about stories that they have read or you have read to them is as important as reading the words.

Here is an example of how whole class Reading Comprehension is taught at East Garforth



In FS1 we are encouraging children to confidently make marks and talk to practitioners about what these marks mean. Children will use a range of materials to do this such as paint, chalk, felt tip, crayon or pencil.There may be some recognisable letters beginning to emerge in your chils's writing and by the end of FS1 some children may be able to write their name and/or individual words indpendently.  

It's Only Words

Each day the children are taught a new word. This word should be challenging and chosen to improve children's vocabulary.

Talk for Writing

Children learn how to retell and create texts orally using well structured sentences with a high level vocabulary. Children also have fun using actions to remind them of certain aspects of the text language. 

In FS2 children are developing their ability to use phonics to begin to write words and sentences. By the end of FS2 it is expected that children will be able to write a few sentences using phonic knoweldge, capital letters and full stops that can be read by an adult without the help of the child.


By the end of FS children will have been taught to count forwards and backwards within the number system 1 to 10. They will be able to recognise and match a numeral  to a set of objects. They will be able to say which number is more or less than another number. They will be able to add by counting on and subtract by counting backwards. They should be able to solve simple practical problems involving addition, subtraction, doubling and halving.Maths will be practical at all times using a range of inspiring equipment to aid children in understanding quantity. 

What do we mean by mastery?

Integral to mastery of the curriculum is the development of deep rather than superficial conceptual understanding. ‘The research for the review of the National Curriculum showed that it should focus on “fewer things in greater depth”, in secure learning which persists, rather than relentless, over-rapid progression.’ It is inevitable that some pupils will grasp concepts more rapidly than others and will need to be stimulated and challenged to ensure continued progression. However, research indicates that these pupils benefit more from enrichment and deepening of content, rather than acceleration into new content. Acceleration is likely to promote superficial understanding, rather than the true depth and rigour of knowledge that is a foundation for higher mathematics.

For further information about maths in the early years click on the link below.

NRich - EYFS


Each week children will receive a Talk Task. Research shows that for children to create well structured written sentences later in their school career they must first be able to articulate these sentences orally. Children will recieve a task that may involve them debating a subject with family members such as; 'Should schools stop playtimes?' Or finding out about a topic such as 'People who help us'.

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