Discuss the Extent to Which the Early Years Foundation Stage (Eyfs) Curriculum Represents a Core Curriculum, What Forms of Knowledge Are Conveyed Through It and How This Might Affect Teaching Learning and Assessment.

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Discuss the extent to which the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum represents a core curriculum, what forms of knowledge are conveyed through it and how this might affect teaching learning and assessment.

This assignment will discuss the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and the knowledge that is conveyed through the early year’s curriculum. The two key areas of knowledge shall be focused upon, these being absolutism and relativism. Then a background on the EYFS shall be written, looking at when it was implemented, why it was implemented and also what it does; what are the key features of the curriculum.

Although the EYFS curriculum is governed by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) this does not necessarily mean that it is the correct structure, a look at the positives and negatives of a curriculum and EYFS curriculum shall then be done. Finally the effects on teaching, learning and assessment shall be done, looking at how theorists of early curriculum development have ideas that contradict the assessment methods that are used within the EYFS. An evaluation of the comparative views of the two theorists shall also be looked at, looking at whether they are in agreement with any ideologies of childhood assessment.

Knowledge can be looked upon in two perspectives absolutism and relativism, this is a view of whether knowledge remains the same or whether it changes as culture develops; what we teach is based on only what we know at the current time. The two concepts of knowledge are still conveyed in education; both are suitable for use and have their positives and negatives.

The concept of absolutism is the understanding that what we teach is based purely on the truth and that nothing can change what we teach in the classroom. (Freakle, Burgh and McSporran, 2008:117) This is the nature of knowledge that is being portrayed in the EYFS; this is because the areas of learning that are focused on are ones of history such as numbers, phonics, movement and materials. (DCSF, 2008, 12-16) These things are not changeable and although time progresses and ideas change, the concept of addition, what cotton is made of, the bones in our body etc. remain the same.

Whereas the knowledge theory of relativism looks upon knowledge as being changeable, knowledge changes depending on time, culture or morals. If we were to examine the EYFS learning goals it is possible to see where relativism can fit into the children’s knowledge, “Understand what is right, what is wrong and why.” (DCSF, 2008:12) The knowledge that children are to develop from this learning goal is dependent on the culture they are from and any current issues. For example some areas of history the use of slaves were the norm, whereas in current times the use of slaves is disapproved of. This is knowledge also features heavily when children are taught citizenship skills, news and events change the ideologies of what children are to understand such as political changes, however this is not too frequent within the EYFS core curriculum.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) began setting the criteria in 2007 and by September 2008 all settings registered with Ofsted had to have the framework in place; “From September 2008 it will be mandatory for all schools and early years providers in Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) registered settings attended by young children.” (DCSF, 2008:7)

However, research conducted one year after the framework was introduced showed that practitioners are struggling to implement the EYFS curriculum, “The different philosophies and theories behind early years practice and play are at loggerheads over the delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage in out-of- school provisions” (Evans, 2009, online) This report was brought out a year after the EYFS Framework was implemented and professionals were still having difficulties in understanding the ideologies of the framework as a consequence the...
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