The Early Years Foundation – An Overview

The EYFS has four themes which bring together all the principles and research that underpins the requirements for teaching and learning of babies and young children. These themes reflect the pre-requisites which enable children to become confident learners, who form positive relationships with others and are inspired to love learning forever.

A Unique Child  – Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. Babies and young children develop at their own pace and in their own individual ways. We work with parents to ensure that children’s individual needs and interests are at the heart of everything we do. Through talking to parents and carers, spending time with and observing children we can plan for their next steps.

Positive relationships – Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. The foundation for learning begins when babies and young children feel safe, secure and happy.  Building a strong and trusting relationship with a child helps the staff  to know how best to plan for their learning taking  into account preferences, learning style, home culture and development stage. Our keyworker system encourages children to build strong, caring bonds so that they feel secure and confident at Patchwork and beyond.

Enabling Environments – 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. We provide a wide range of activities which inspire and promote imagination and role play, exploration and discovery, problem solving and critical thinking.

An enabling environment is about providing a setting in which children can play, explore and learn in a safe, caring and supportive space. The environment should be child-centered – it is important that practitioners understand how individual children learn best and that they value and encourage independence. . Our interactive planning provides not only planned ‘adult initiated’ activities for groups and individuals, but allows us the flexibility to take advantage of ‘teachable moments’ that occur throughout the day, using spontaneous and unexpected occurrences. Children need time and opportunities to become absorbed in what they are doing, often repeating things again and again, until their curiosity is satisfied. They need time to play on their own, time to play with friends, and time to be part of a larger group. This approach gives children the opportunity to concentrate for long periods of time, investigating resources and exploring situations which interest them, thereby demonstrating deep involvement and high level learning.

Developing  and learning 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. Children have different ways of learning and some will reach certain milestones quicker than others; this is normal. Some children become skilled in areas such as creativity; others walk or talk earlier or later than their peers; this is all normal. There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ child; only a ‘unique’ child. However, sometimes children will struggle and some children will need extra help from time to time to enable them to reach their potential.