02: EYFS Guidance for Parents & Carers – choosing a placement

What is EYFS?

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is from birth to five years, as described by the Government and Early Years Professionals and is an important stage which helps your child prepare for school and future life learning. From birth up until the age of five their early years experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure, and should support their development, care and learning needs. Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.

Nurseries, pre-schools, reception classes and childminders registered to deliver the EYFS must follow a legal document called the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. The framework was developed with a number of Early Years experts and parents, and exists to support all professionals working in the EYFS to help your child.

  • The legal welfare requires that all child care providers must follow to keep your child safe and promote their welfare
  • The seven areas of learning and development which guide professionals’ engagement with your child’s play and activities as they learn new skills and knowledge
  • Assessments that will tell you about your child’s progress through the EYFS
  • Expected levels that your child should reach at age five, usually the end of the reception year. These expectations are called the ‘Early Learning Goals (ELGs)’

The EYFS Framework

The EYFS Framework explains how and what your child will learn to support their development. Your child will learn skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through seven areas of learning and development. There is an excellent brochure available to download here.This gives a clear overview of each stage and ideas to encourage your child to enjoy learning.

The Seven Areas of Learning and Development

The seven areas, which run through all the ages from birth to 50 months, see your child through reception and into KS1. The seven areas are as follows:

  1. Communication and language
  2. Physical development
  3. Personal, social and emotional development
  4. Literacy
  5. Mathematics
  6. Understanding the world
  7. Expressive arts and design

These seven areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. A good childcare provider will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. Like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, this framework is suitable for very young children and is designed to be flexible for your child’s changing needs and interests.


Your choice of nursery placement is often made because a day nursery offers an extended day and is available all year round. As with a child minder ‘gut instinct’ plays an important role when deciding which nursery to opt for. Before narrowing the field down here are some things to consider:

  • Do they provide nappies?
  • Are they flexible about sessions?
  • Are they registered for Nursery Education Grant Funding?
  • Do they have an outdoor area which the children access daily?

One of the best indicators of quality within a day nursery is the management and leadership.

  • Do you feel comfortable with the manager; is she/he approachable?
  • Are there systems in place for staff to have continuing professional development?
  • Are policies and procedures accessible and understandable?
  • Is there a recognisable ethos and philosophy about the nursery?
  • Is the setting well maintained?

IMPORTANT: Do not be influenced by establishments which initially appear to do everything and seem very impressive on the surface – sometimes the setting which appears basic is the one offering the highest quality care and education.

When you have established a list of your preferences, start to look for a day nursery using your local Children’s Information Service website, which will provide you with a list of nurseries in your preferred location. When you have established a list which meets your criteria, make some appointments to visit. On these visits it is useful to have a list of things to look for and questions to ask.

Above all of these considerations, you will need to be sure that the nursery complies with statutory regulations, especially with regard to safe-guarding and health and hygiene practices. Always ask to see the latest Ofsted report or access these for yourself from the Ofsted web site before you make an appointment to visit. (www.ofsted.gov.uk). In addition, you should be aware of the government’s statutory requirements for any nursery or childminder when looking after the welfare and development of your child. These are set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage document.

When your child is two

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

This check will highlight areas where your child is progressing well and anywhere they might need extra help or support. Please remember that not all children are the same and some will excel in one or more areas but fall short in others. The Foundation for Early Years website provides both brief guides and the complete EYFS Guideline. Please follow these links

www.foundationyears.org.uk; www.ofsted.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare


When your child is five

At the end of the EYFS – in the summer term of the reception year in school – teachers complete an assessment which is known as the EYFS Profile. This assessment is carried out by the reception teacher and is based on what they, and other staff caring for your child, have observed over a period of time.

Another important part of the EYFS Profile is your knowledge about your child’s learning and development, so do let your child’s class teacher know about what your child does with you: such as how confident your child is in writing their name, reading and talking about a favourite book, speaking to unfamiliar people or their understanding of numbers.

All of the information collected is used to judge how your child is doing in the 7 areas of learning and development. Finding out at this stage how your child is doing will mean that the teacher your child has in their next school year, year 1, will know what your child really enjoys doing and does well, as well as helping them decide if your child needs a bit of extra support. The school will give you a report of your child’s progress, including information from their EYFS Profile.

How can I find out how my child is getting on?

It is important that you and the professionals caring for your child work together. You need to feel comfortable about exchanging information and discussing things that will benefit your child. These conversations will either need to be with your childminder or, in a larger setting like a nursery, with your child’s “key person”. This is the person who:

  • Is your main point of contact within the setting
  • Helps your child to become settled, happy and safe
  • Is responsible for your child’s care, development and learning
  • Takes a careful note of your child’s progress, sharing this with you and giving ideas as to how to help your child at home

You should be able to get information about your child’s development at any time and there are two stages (at age 2, and again at age 5) when the professionals caring for your child must give you written information about how he or she is doing.

How can I help with my child’s learning?

All the fun activities that you do with your child at home are important in supporting their learning and development, and have a really long lasting effect on your child’s learning as they progress through school.

Even when your child is very young and is not yet able to talk, talking to them helps them to learn and understand new words and ideas. If you make the time every day to do some of the following things with your child it will make a real difference to your child’s confidence as a young learner.


Taken from: The Foundation Years Parents Guide

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