The EYFS is a frame work setting standards that cover the care, development, learning of children from birth to the age of five. It was first established under the Childcare Act 2006. The new framework will come into force 1st Sept 1014, until then the current EYFS 2012 is statutory. There are four specific areas of the EYFS which are: A unique child, positive relationships, enabling environments and learning and development.
These provide guidance on best practices and procedures and the framework is applicable to for all environments that support children from birth to 5. Some of these would be, maintained schools, non maintained school, independent schools, child minders, pre schools and nurseries.
Exceptions to these would be if a child had a nanny, or parent toddler groups (where the parent is expected to stay with the child.) Within these four specific areas there are also 7 areas of learning and development. Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first.
These are: Communication and language, physical development and personal and social and emotional development. As children grow these prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas which are Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding of the world and expressive arts and design. Each of these stages (or steps) have guidance (goals) as to where the child should be at regarding their age and stage. These stages are fairly flexible allowing staff/parents to be able to monitor the progress of the child whilst maintaining and keeping in with the Childs own unique interests and needs.
1.The Unique Child
Babies and children develop at different rates and ages. However all babies must develop skill 1 before they develop skill 2 and so on, an example would be a baby must first learn to crawl (in some form) before it will walk, or learn to make sounds before it talks. Links from body to brain are essential in early child development. Children are vulnerable and without love, care and nurture from parents and carers will not develop the necessary skills, emotions and resilience of a child who had this care and nurture. These early relationships with parents/carers are essential and can strongly influence how children develop socially and emotionally.
Children develop communication skills at a very early stage. Babies learn to cry, and this is the earliest form of communication, babies communicate through facial expression, they learn to smile by watching their parents /carers, learning through having frequent enjoyable contact. Making “baby,” noises, gurgling through to laughing. Babies and children also learn and develop through play helping to develop their physical, social and emotional, communication and cognitive skills. Recognizing that all people (Adults, babies and children,) have rights and must be treated fairly. This is irrespective of age, sex, ethnicity, race, wealth, disability etc. All children have an equal right to be listened to and valued within any child setting. It is important that all children receive the same amount of care and support within the setting to ensure their overall development. It is important to assess the needs of each individual child to ensure that the individual child can reach their full potential. All babies are vulnerable and rely on adults to keep them safe. To feel safe and secure in a childcare setting is paramount.
Younger children can begin to learn about keeping themselves safe through conversations, poems and stories. This help to keep children resilient. It is also important that we teach children boundaries. Children will continue to test these boundaries, but though nurturing children and explaining rules and consequences as a positive constant, children feel safe and secure in their environments. They begin to learn what is acceptable and not acceptable in their various environments and the difference of right and wrong., This is also imperative when it comes to children making choices and assessing their own risk, helping to develop their physical and physiological well being. Children’s health and well being are effected by their genes and the environment in which they are brought up in. Children who have their emotional and physical needs and wants met in an accepting, loving and understanding environment are children whom develop confidence, are resilient and self assured.
Children gain a sense of well being, it helps with social skills – they are able to make friends, communicate themselves in a self assured way, share and enjoy life. Teaching healthy eating habits, maintaining the children’s interest in the health of their own bodies, role modeling this and showing posters of healthy food and fruit are ways of promoting this to children giving them choices, encouraging them to be part of a group as they start to become more in control of their bodies. Giving children a safe, clean healthy environment aids with their physical development ensuring adequate clothing and footwear, a stimulating environment and access to the outdoors and the stimulus that this provides. For babies and young children, sleep and rest is also an important factor to aid heath and well being, as development is rapid in the first 3 years of life. Positive Relationships
Every interaction is based on a positive relationship. Children are able to function better and feel safe when they are in a positive, loving relationship with their family. This flows when they make their transition to the child care environment. By involving and accepting the child’s family and working as a team with the child and their family creates a positive environment in which the child can best adapt and develop. Through mutual support of family and practitioner, shows the child we are interested in their feelings, interests and abilities. Whilst still having a professional distance from families, being friendly towards family but not being in a friendship. A parent/practitioner partnership helps to develop systems which can help scaffold children’s individual efforts and independence. Positive communication with parents enable practice that creates stimulating relationships with both the child and the people involved in their family, creating the goal to which the child feels safe, valued and included, where differences are embraced. Enabling Environments ensure that all babies and children in an Early Years Setting have the correct resources to enable the need to develop and learn.
Showing parents and carers that the environment meets their child’s individual needs helps to create a positive partnership between parents and professionals. We can do this be ensuring children have stimulating resources available to them, equipment that helps to develop both physical and cognitive development. Providing resources related to the children’s cultures, religions, communities, experiences and achievements. This also helps with practice relating to inclusion, whilst providing other children with learning opportunities they may not experience in their normal everyday life. All learning development outlines that children’s development and learning rate are different. This is especially true when supporting children with disabilities or special educational needs. This is when guidelines need to be followed and care plans are put into place.
Children’s learning development needs to be planned for in an EYFS setting. Children must be given the opportunity to explore different subjects made to engage them in their age and stage of understanding, these should be enjoyable but at the same time challenging encouraging children to think critically when involved in their play. This is where Planning, Observation and Assessment cycles come into play. “Observation involves practitioners observing children to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles, and then to shape learning experiences for each child reflecting those observations.” Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage – 2012 With children in an EYFS setting early observations are vital to determine how far a child is with their development. It is important to observe a child within the three prime areas. Through these primary observations assessments developed and individual educational plans can be put into place to ensure the childs specific needs are met. In order to gain a level of children’s development, we use development statements.
These are a list of statements that outline the four stages ok the EYFS framework Including 7 areas of where a child should be in regards to their learning development. They are either working towards or have achieved the early learning goals. This is all age and stage related and helps determine any gaps in observations, as well as the child’s strengths and weaknesses. These EYFS assessments are continuously reviewed by the practitioner who discusses findings with the parent during the prime areas of development which are between the ages of 2 & 3 years. This is then reviewed at the end of the EYFS period which Government deem to be at age 5. During the observations and assessments of the prime areas there are also 4 specific areas that will develop as the child grows. These are literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design, which are also age and stage related.
Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson and Jean Piaget were all theorists who gave ideas regarding children’s development through their years, from developmental stages, cognitive/intellectual stages and milestones.
Jean Piaget’s theory is that children develop through 4 stages. The Sensorimotor (0-2 yrs) This is where the child understands the world through their primary reflexes, looking, sucking, feeling, then as the child develops so do the schemas, Piaget states that this is first found accidently by the child then done purposefully for enjoyment. As the child progresses they do things by trial and error as the child realizes actions have a reaction, for example picking up a rattle then moving it creates noise. Creating a noise may get attention from a care giver. This knowledge is moving from the actual action of movement and reaction to the actual cognitive thought process. Milestone Object Permanence The second stage Preoperational (2-7years) This is the stage where children develop language, and become adept at using symbols which may have many meanings. An example would be a cardboard box becomes a car, a television, a bed anything that the childs imagines it to be through role play. A child had not yet developed logic and has an outlook of self-importance. Milestone Egocentrism Stage Three is Concrete Operational (7-11 years) Children now begin to develop a greater understanding of concrete events, they are logical in their thinking but have difficulty when relating to hypothetical events or situations.
They realize that their own thoughts and feelings may be different from others thoughts. Children become less egocentric and begin to understand that something may stay in the same quantity even though the appearance has changed. If two pieces of paper are the same length and one length has been scrunched up, children will assume the scrunched is shorter if the Milestone conservation has not been reached. Formal Operational (11+Years) Children begin the ability to think in an abstract manor. They are able to reason things in their heads and conclude possible outcomes. Children are able to think about thinks they may not have experienced and still be able to determine possible endings to scenarios. Milestone, manipulation of ideas. Sigmund Freud’s theories of psychosexual development, describes how personality develops during childhood through the “id”. This is the source of all psychic energy, making it the primary component of personality. The “id” is driven by the pleasure principle. Freud’s theory is based on five stages. Oral – (O-1 year) The primary source of a baby’s pleasure is through feeding, the interaction occurs through the mouth and the baby gains pleasure from the carers who is feeding the baby and develops a relationship of trust and comfort with the feeder.
Milestone Feeding Anal Stage (1-3years) Freud believed the primary source of libido was on controlling the bladder and bowel. When a child has developed this control over their body it is believed this sense of achievement and accomplishment leads to independence. Parents who praise positive outcomes lead children to feel capable and productive. Milestone Control over body Phallic Stage (3-6 years) Children develop feeling of jealousy. Freud suggested that boys become jealous of fathers affections towards their mothers. Children as a result of these feelings were also able to understand the fears of punishment. Milestone Jealousy Differences Latent (6 years-puberty) The early part of Latent is where children become interested in their peers, lasting meaningful relationships are formed, they become interested in hobbies and other interests, the later part of Latent is when children develop further relationships, social and communication skills and self confidence. Children tend to more actively pursue activities they are interested in. Milestone Interest in hobbies and others. Genital Stage (puberty-death)Freud suggests that in this last stage, the person develops a sexual interest in the opposite sex. This stage begins at puberty but remains with a person throughout life.
Interests in the welfare others should now be established, Freud determined that once all stages have been met the individual should now be an all rounded well balanced individual. Milestone Sexual interests and a well balanced lifestyle. Erik Erikson also theorized upon personality, however, whereas Freud took a sexual approach, physcosexual, Erikson took the “ego” approach, psychosocial which was all about the “ego” of the human, rather than the “id” that Freud discussed. The “ego” was more about the role of society, culture and conflicts that took place within itself – the devil and angel on your shoulder. Stage 1 Trust vs Mistrust (0-18mth) Babies/young children begin to develop a sense of trust from their primary care givers, if the care is constant, then trust develops. If not then Erikson claimed the child will develop a mistrust even fear and will not have confidence in the world around them. Milestone Feeding Stage 2 Early Childhood (2-3years)Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt. By this stage, children are walking, able to chose (toys, directions to walk in) becoming more independent and developing autonomy. The aim Erikson suggested, was to let the child attempt and try at risk, even though failure may be possible, Erikson said it was better to praise the child for its attempts. “They must not criticize the child for failures and accidents (particularly when toilet raining.) The aim has to be “self control without a loss of self esteem.” (Gross 1993)
Milestone toilet training. Stage 3 Preschool (3-5years) Initiative vs Guilt. Children become more social and are interested in developing games, interacting with one another, becoming more assertive. Children become more confident as they become involved more in play and lead others through this. During this time, other children may want to take control, or adults may “intervene” in some way, children then begin to feel inadequate which leads to a lacking in self initiative and feeling of guilt. Milestone Exploration Stage 4 School Age (6-11years)Industry vs Inferiority This is the most important time for anyone in the teaching profession. Children begin to develop coping skills, they are developing relationships with peers and begin to feel the need to win approval by developing specific competencies that are interesting and noted by society. Children take pride in their accomplishments and are keen to show all in their world their achievements.
Erikson suggests at this point, if children are not commended, or no interest is taken by their peers, family or care givers, and criticism is offered instead of praise, then the child may begin to feel inferior and have doubt in their abilities. Some children may just stop being interested in a certain activity. Milestone – School Stage 5 (!2-18years) Identity vs Role Confusion. Erikson suggests this is the age where children/young adults begin to gain t two identities a greater sense of self identity/awareness. They begin to look forward, to plan their futures Erikson “suggests that two identities are involved: the sexual and the occupational.” McLeod, S.A. (2008.) Children who experience constant negativity and rebuke from peers, trusted professionals (teachers) and family members can lead to a lack in confidence, low self esteem, and failure.
The factors which play a central role in children’s learning support the transitional process from EYFS into Year 1. “The characteristics of effective learning run through and underpin all seven areas of learning and development, representing process rather than outcomes.” EYFS Profile Handbook. There are three key characteristics of effective learning. Playing and Exploring, Active Learning and Critical Thinking. These descriptions need to have a brief description through means of ongoing observations, relevant photographs, discussions with parents and relevant adults and should take into account all relevant information from the setting. The HLTA should encourage children by supporting and encouraging a child’s natural curiosity (Playing and Exploring.) This can be achieved through role play sought from the children’s own interests. By having – creating an excited and well resourced role play area encourages children to engage in play they may not normally choose, and to mix with other children they wouldn’t normally play with. Through providing varied materials children can use imagination and construct their own equipment for use in their play. The HLTA encourages to play through using encouraging praise and being aware of all children engaged in the “game.” And by giving children a language to think about by maybe first initiating language/vocabulary relevant to the role play.
An example would be a shop area HLTA would use vocab. such as cost, money, buy, shop, etc. introduce mathematics through numeracy words. To then reflect with children about their play encouraging them to “chat,” about what they did, ask questions how, why, where, encourage children to think about what else they could do, improve on, get rid of – what’s good and what’s not, all helps the HLTA support children by trying different strategies, practice problem solving skills, through encouraging praise. We are then able to revisit the role play area, giving children time to explore the area, thinking about what they’ve discussed, encouraging other children to contribute. To encourage children to think critically is to support children in the development of their own ideas, develop their problem solving skills and develop their methodical approach to achieve an outcome. A HLTA could introduce a maths activity to support this. I would set up conversations regarding the resources such as weighing scales, and various sized and shaped parcels, some the same size but have a noticeable change in weight. We would have discussions firstly introducing language, heavier ,lighter, large, small, equal, balance. By asking children to chose a parcel they “think” is heavy (most will pick the largest) and compare that to another parcel introduces different ideas that biggest isn’t always heaviest.
Children will enjoy investigating and figuring out. Asking children to compare weight in their hands and through use of the scales will encourage children to think through the issue, through conversation and discussing mistakes children will able to see visual when using the weiing scales which parcel was actually heavier, asking other children to comment feedback and to “have a go.” And by supporting and respecting a childs efforts and thinking of new ideas i.e. how can we make it heavier on this side?… I think that be introducing activities encourages children in active learning. It involves being calm at all times and to be able to calm children who may become over excited. Through constructive praise of their progress, achievements and failures. Helping children set new and different goals, encouraging children to watch and learn from other children through praise and encouragement. Teaching children to reflect upon their play, encouraging children to return to games, areas, activities that they may not have accessed for a while. Give children time to explore the activities and allow them to contribute. Through taking photographs of children engaged in an activity, and by returning to discuss the pictures at a later date, reminds the child and encourages them to think and recollect their experiences. Displaying these photos and giving them the child’s voice on either setting walls, or learning journals encourages children to contribute to their environment.