Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) This non-statutory guidance material supports practitioners in implementing the statutory requirements of the EYFS. Children develop quickly in the early years, and early years practitioners aim to do all they can to help children have the best possible start in life. Children have a right, spelled out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to provision which enables them to develop their personalities, talents and abilities irrespective of ethnicity, culture or religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities or gender. This guidance helps adults to understand and support each individual child’s development pathway. Other guidance is provided at www.foundationyears.org.uk. The EYFS statutory framework is available on the Foundation Years website as well as the Department for Education website: www.education.gov.uk/publications
Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments. The four themes of the EYFS underpin all the guidance. This document - Development Matters - shows how these themes, and the principles that inform them, work together for children in the EYFS.
A Unique Child
Learning and Development
Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. Practitioners • understand and observe each child’s development and learning, assess progress, plan for next steps • support babies and children to develop a positive sense of their own identity and culture • identify any need for additional support • keep children safe • value and respect all children and families equally
Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
Positive relationships are • warm and loving, and foster a sense of belonging • sensitive and responsive to the child’s needs, feelings and interests • supportive of the child’s own efforts and independence • consistent in setting clear boundaries • stimulating • built on key person relationships in early years settings
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. Enabling Environments • value all people • value learning They offer • stimulating resources, relevant to all the children’s cultures and communities • rich learning opportunities through play and playful teaching • support for children to take risks and explore
Children develop and learn 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. Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development. They foster the characteristics of effective early learning • Playing and exploring • Active learning • Creating and thinking critically
Using this guidance to support each child’s learning and development Development matters can help practitioners to support children’s learning and development, by closely matching what they provide to a child’s current needs. On-going formative assessment is at the heart of effective early years practice. Practitioners can: • Observe children as they act and interact in their play, everyday activities and planned activities, and learn from parents about what the child does at home (observation). • Consider the examples of development in the columns headed ‘Unique Child: observing...
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