Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 

“The EYFS sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life”

An introduction for parents to the Early Years Foundation Stage.


Sunningdale Pre-School works within the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS). 


The Early Years Foundation Stage is government produced statutory guidance for early years settings. This means that all settings (nurseries, child minders, Pre-Schools and holiday clubs) providing care for children aged between 0 and 5 years old must follow this guidance.


      “The EYFS sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life”


The EYFS was first implemented in 2008. It was reviewed with the reformed EYFS that came into effect in September 2012. The EYFS recognises the importance of the early years of a child’s life as being informative and that the care provided at this stage in a child’s life is essential to their future development

Ofsted (Office for standards in education) is the government department responsible for monitoring early years settings and ensuring that they both follow the EYFS guidance and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children in their care. Ofsted regulates and inspects every setting in England that provides care for children up to the age of eighteen and following inspection will indicate whether that setting is outstanding, good, satisfactory or inadequate. Sunningdale Pre-School achieved a ‘good’ rating at its last inspection, the report of which can be found on the Ofsted website.


What does this mean for your child?


The EYFS has four overarching principles:

  • A unique child – who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured,

  • Positive relationships –through which children learn to be strong and independent,

  • Enabling environments – where children’s experiences respond to their individual needs, and there is a strong partnership between practitioners (those caring for the children) and parents/carers,

  • Learn and develop – which covers the education of all children in early years including children with special education needs and disabilities.

Your child’s learning and the role of their key carer: 

Within the Learn and Develop principle there are seven further areas. The first three, called the prime areas are; communication and language, physical development and personal and social development. When a child first starts at the Pre-School they will be allocated a key carer. This is a member of staff who is responsible for monitoring a child’s progress, planning activities to support their progress within all aspects of the EYFS and developing a relationship with the child’s parents/carers to support the child. Initially the key carer will focus on these prime areas when observing the child and support the child to reach goals within these areas such as understanding turn taking, using the toilet and dressing independently or making choices about what they want to play with. Gradually the areas will be expanded to include literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design.


Each key carer maintains a file for each key child. This is unique to the key carer, every person has different ways of recording and presenting the information they gather. However the aim of the file is to demonstrate the child’s achievements within the learning and development areas as well as to highlight future steps to support the child. This file will be available for parents to review regularly and to contribute to. When the child makes the transition from the Pre-School to primary school, the file will go home with the child to be treasured. The child’s key carer will provide a report that will be sent to the child’s new school which details the child’s learning and development to support the child’s new teacher and smooth the transition into school. This is also an important focus of the EYFS, supporting every child’s transition into and onwards from Pre-School, as well other transitions that may occur during their time with Sunningdale Pre-School such as moving house.


Sunningdale Pre-School takes its responsibility to support children’s transitions very seriously from settling in visits and the key carer system when a child joins Pre-School, through to developing relationships with the schools children move into and supporting the child with visits to their future school. Many of the Pre-School children move to the local primary school; however Sunningdale Pre-School has developed relationships with many schools in the surrounding areas, any school that a child of the Pre-School has moved onto.


It is important to remember that each child is unique; their life experiences vary dramatically and for this reason, the support key carers provide to their key children is tailored to each individual child’s needs and developmental stage. It is not based on their age or ‘where they should be at’. Meetings will be held between the child’s parents and the key carer throughout the child’s time at the setting in order to support the child’s development and for the key carer to best utilise the expert knowledge every parent has about their own child. A meeting will normally be offered once your child has completed their first half term in order for parents and key carer to catch up and discuss how the child has settled in as well as their development in the above areas. Each child’s key file will also be sent home at least once every term to allow parents to view the file in detail and make comments regarding the child’s development. Parents are invited to add to their child’s file at any time, such as through photographs taken outside of Pre-School that demonstrate new development and achievements. Although there are several meetings scheduled between parents and carers throughout the child’s time at the setting, parents are encouraged to meet with their child’s key carer at any point if they have concerns about their child’s development, information that needs to be shared or just to catch up. This may be a quick discussion at pick up or drop off, or if longer is required, by arrangement at a time convenient to both parent and key carer.


Below is a brief guide to how key carers are supporting children in each learning and development area:


Learning area 



What this involves.


Example of activities and experiences to support learning-

Communication and language

Listening and attention, understanding, speaking.

Share songs, stories and rhymes from all cultures, plan play activities and provide resources which encourage young children to engage in symbolic play, set up shared experiences that children can reflect upon such as a cooking activity.



Physical development

Moving and handling, health and self-care

Provide a range of large play equipment that can be used in different ways, plan activities that involve moving and stopping, provide time and space to enjoy energetic play daily, provide play resources including small world toys, construction sets, threading, allow children to pour their own drinks, serve their own food, choose a story.


Personal, social and emotional development

Making relationships, self-confidence and self-awareness, managing feelings and behaviour

Plan and support activities that support collaboration, choose books, puppets and dolls that help children explore their ideas about friends and friendship, ensure children have opportunities to get to know everyone in the group, provide experiences and activities that are challenging yet achievable.





Reading and writing,

Provide some simple poetry, song, fiction and non-fiction books, create an environment rich in print where children can learn about words, draw attention to marks, signs and symbols in the environment and what they mean, write down things that children say to support their understanding that what they say can be written down and then read and understood by someone else, provide resources for children to mark make indoors and outdoors.



Numbers, shape, space and measure

Provide games and equipment that offer children opportunities for counting, give children a reason to count, include counting money and change in role-play games, provide interesting collections of things for children to count, order and label, provide a range of number resources, measure for a purpose, organise the environment to encourage shape matching, plan opportunities for children to compare, describe shapes, measures and distance.


Understanding the world

People and communities, the world, technology

Share photographs of children’s families, friends and pets, support children’s understanding of difference and empathy using props, plan extra time for helping children in transition, provide ways of preserving memories of special events, help children to learn positive attitudes and challenge negative attitudes and stereotypes, support and enable children to use technology.


Expressive arts and design

Exploring and using media and materials, being imaginative.

Choose unusual or interesting materials and resources that inspire exploration, introduce children to a wide range of music, painting and sculpture, extend children’s experience and expand their imagination through the provision of pictures, paintings, music, poems, dance and story, provide opportunities indoors and outdoors and support the different interests of children.


The information above demonstrates how children’s fun and play is so beneficial to their learning and development. For example a cooking activity is not just a fun means of making and eating food but an opportunity to encourage children to communicate, take turns, support one another, develop confidence in their own skills, support their independence and develop their mathematical knowledge.


This document cannot cover every aspect of the Early Years Foundation Stage as it is a large and comprehensive piece of guidance, however further information as well as the official guidance used by the Sunningdale Pre-School can be found on the Department for Education website. Sunningdale Pre-School recognises the importance of the parent’s role in their children’s development and the positive contribution parents can make both to their own children’s education and the Pre-School. For more information please read the Pre-School’s open door policy. Of course staff at the Pre-School will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the early years foundation stage and your child’s development.