Early Years Foundation Stage

Listed below are the four Themes of: The Early Years Foundation Stage. These four Themes express important Principles underpinning effective practice in the care, development and learning of young children. Each principle is supported by four Commitments which describe how the Principle can be put into practice.

  1. A Unique Child
  2. Positive Relationships
  3. Enabling Environments
  4. Learning and Development

Every child is a competent learner from birth, who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person.

The environment plays a key role in supporting children’s development and learning. Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates, and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and inter-connected.


1. A Unique Child (Theme)

Child Development (Principle)

Child Development (Our commitment)
Children start to learn about the world around them from the moment they are born. The care and education offered by our setting helps children to continue to do this by providing all of the children with interesting activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development.

A Skilful Communicator (Our commitment)
Children will develop this skill through being with people who love them at home, and through their key persons who care for them in Playbox. They will make friendships where they will learn about other people. Through opportunities for talk with others, interactions, stories, songs, poems, rhyme, mime and gesture, children will learn to become skilful communicators.

A Competent Learner (Our commitment)
Our Key Person system enables us to ensure a planned curriculum tailored to the needs of each individual child, by means of developmentally appropriate play activities, and a high level of individual adult input. All children will be supported in developing their potential at their own pace.

Inclusive Practice (Principle)

Equality and Diversity (Our commitment)
All children are encouraged to enjoy a full life in conditions which will help them to take part and develop as individuals, within their own cultural and spiritual beliefs.

Children’s Entitlements
Children are treated fairly regardless of race, religion or ability. All children have an equal right to be listened to and valued.

Early Support
Through our planning we will endeavour to identify the need for additional support as early as possible. We will listen to families ensuring sensitive two-way exchange of information and call on specialist help when needed.

Keeping Safe

Being Safe & Protected
Children are vulnerable as they have little sense of danger. By talking about situations, where children may be at most risk we can help the children to risk assess situations and make positive moves to stay safe.

Discovering Boundaries
Explaining and talking over rules and boundaries help children to understand dangers and why rules exist. We have consistent boundaries for behaviour, and a reward system to help children to feel confident and secure.

Making Choices
We give children choices, helping them to learn that while there are several different options, they can usually only choose one at a time, and having choices will sometimes include choosing not to do something.

Health and well-being

Growing & Development
Children’s health and well-being are affected by the environment they live and play in. They are encouraged to be actively involved in exploring their environment, using their senses to build up their knowledge about the world. Our provision offers young children the opportunity to take part in planned and unplanned activities that will help them to make connections with what they already know and build new understandings to help them form more complex ideas about the world.

Physical Well-being
Through everyday activities children are encouraged to make healthy food choices. Children are also taught about food-related hygiene, for example, washing their hands before eating. Milk, water, crackers, bread sticks, toast, sandwiches and fruit will be provided for the children. Children have opportunities for regular physical activities, indoors and outdoors (where possible). Playbox will regularly offer opportunities for movement, such as action songs, music and props. Children are taught how to move, balance and climb safely. Children are encouraged to look after their bodies, for example, hygiene, sun safety and resting after exercise.

Emotional Well-being
We meet the children’s emotional well-being by ensuring they feel accepted and enjoy warm and supportive relationships with both adults and children. A healthy child is one who is emotionally secure and knows that he or she will be respected for who he or she is, helping develop a positive self-image. Children will learn about the importance of relationships, and how to respect themselves and others. They will also develop a positive attitude to learning and be given opportunities for problem solving. Your child’s emotional well-being will be addressed through appropriate everyday activities. All the team within Playbox will be well trained, valued and supported.

To find out more about the Early Years Foundation Stage commitments made to support the following Themes and Principles please follow this link: www.plymouth.gov.uk/homepage/education/earlyyearsandchildcare/informationforparents/earlyyearsfoundationstage.htm


2. Positive Relationships (Theme)


3. Enabling Environments


4. Learning and Development

Areas of Learning and Development (Our commitments)

The areas of learning and development
There are seven areas of learning and development that shape the educational programme in Playbox. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:
-Communication and language
-Physical development; and
-Personal, Social and Emotional development.

We must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
-Literacy
-Mathematics
-Understanding the world; and
-Expressive arts and design.

Educational programmes involve activities and experiences for children, as follows.

Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations. In both small and large groups, children are encouraged to extend their vocabulary and fluency by talking and listening, and extend their hearing and responding to stories, songs and rhymes. Children are helped to understand that written symbols carry meaning to be aware of the purpose of writing and, when they are ready, to use drawn and written symbols for themselves.

Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children are also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food. A range of equipment and opportunities, both indoors and outdoors, allows children to develop confidence and enjoyment in the use and development of their own body skills. The high level of adult supervision enables children to create and meet physical challenges safely and develop increased skill and control in moving, climbing and balancing. At the same time, children are supported in the development of the fine motor skills required to use tools, including pens and pencils and to handle small objects with increasing control.

Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities. This is the foundation for progress in all other areas of learning. It is the whole ethos of Playbox. Planned activities and daily routines enable the children to have the experience and support they need to develop a positive self image, confidence and enthusiasm for learning, making new relationships and working co-operatively with others.

Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest. Regular stories and a well stocked book corner gives every child the opportunity and encouragement to become familiar with books, to be able to handle them correctly and to be aware of their uses, both for reference and as a source of telling stories and looking at pictures.

Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures. By means of adult – supported practical experience, children become familiar with the sorting, matching, measuring, ordering, sequencing and counting activities, which form the basis for early mathematics. As they develop their understanding to solve practical problems, children are assisted to learn and use the vocabulary of mathematics, identifying objects by shape, position, size, volume and number. Songs, games and picture books help children to become aware of number sequences and, when they are ready, to use simple mathematical operations such as adding and taking away.

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment. A safe, stimulating environment allows children to explore and experiment with a range of natural and manufactured materials. They learn to observe the features of objects and substances, recognise differences, patterns and similarities, and share and record their findings. Children are assisted in exploring and understanding their environment, both with the group and also in the wider community. A range of safe and well maintained equipment enables children to extend their technical understanding, using simple tools and techniques as appropriate to achieve their intention and solve problems.

Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology. Children are encouraged to use a wide range of resources in order to express their own ideas and feelings and to construct their individual response to experience in two and three dimensions. Our equipment, including paint, glue, crayons and pencils as well as natural and discarded resources provide for open-ended exploration of colour, shape and texture and the development of skills in painting, drawing and collage. Children join in with and respond to music and stories and there are many opportunities for imaginative role-play both individually and as part of a group.

Progress check at age two When a child is aged between two and three, practitioners review their progress, and provide parents/carers with a short written summary of their child’s development in the prime areas. This progress check identifies the child’s strengths, and any areas where progress is less than expected. If there are significant emerging concerns, or an identified special educational need or disability, practitioners develop a targeted plan to support the child’s future learning and development involving other professionals (for example, Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) as appropriate.

Practitioners consider the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, they use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all of the areas of learning and development. the youngest children are expected to focus strongly on the three prime areas, which are the basis for successful learning in the other four specific areas. The three prime areas reflect the key skills and capacities all children need to develop and learn effectively, and become ready for school. It is expected that the balance will shift towards a more equal focus on all areas of learning as children grow in confidence and ability within the three prime areas. But throughout the early years, if a child’s progress in any prime area gives cause for concern, we will discuss this with you the parents / carers and agree to support the child. We consider whether a child may have a special educational need or disability which requires specialist support. We also link with, and help families to access, relevant services from other agencies as appropriate.

For children whose home language is not English, we take reasonable steps to provide opportunities for children to develop and use their home language in play and learning, supporting their language development at home. Providers must also ensure that children have sufficient opportunities to learn and reach a good standard in English language during the EYFS, ensuring children are ready to benefit from the opportunities available to them when they begin Year 1 in school.

Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults. There is an on going judgement to be made by practitioners about the balance between activities led by children, and activities led or guided by adults. Practitioners respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction.

Beyond the prime areas, it is for practitioners to decide what the written summary should include, reflecting the development level and needs of the individual child. The summary will highlight: areas in which a child is progressing well; areas in which some additional support might be needed; and focus particularly on any areas where there is a concern that a child may have a developmental delay (which may indicate a special educational need or disability). It will describe the activities and strategies we intend to adopt to address any issues or concerns. If a child moves settings between the ages of two and three a progress check would usually be undertaken before the move.

Practitioners discuss with parent/carers how the summary of development can be used to support learning at home. Practitioners encourage parent/carers to share information from the progress check with other relevant professionals, including their health visitor.


Next: Parental Involvement

‹ Previous: Admissions/Waiting List