Early years foundation stage (EYFS)

Framework that sets the standards for learning, development and care for pre-school children from birth to 5 years.

What is the early years foundation stage? (EYFS)

The early years foundation stage is how the government and early years professionals describe the time in your child's life between birth and age 5 years.

It is a framework setting the standards for learning, development and care for children during this period. Nurseries, pre-schools, reception classes and childminders must follow the legal document called the EYFS Framework.

You can ask for information about your child's development at any time, and there are two stages when the professionals caring for your child must give you written information about how he or she is doing.

The stages are the 'progress check' at age 2, and again at age 5. The written summary of their progress at age 5 is called the EYFS Profile.

As a mum or dad, how can I help with my child's learning?

All the activities that you do with your child at home are important in supporting their learning and development. They have a really long lasting effect on your child's learning as they progress towards and through school.

For example:

  • talking
  • reading
  • singing nursery rhymes
  • cooking and baking

You can purchase resources or get some ideas from Early Years Resources.

Even when your child is very young and not able to talk, you talking to them helps them to learn and understand new words and ideas. Parents often underestimate what they can do to support their child's development.

If you feel unsure of what you can do at home to support your child's learning, you can find out what is on offer at your local children's centre. Many children's centres offer 'messy play' activities which you and your child can join in, and many of the activities they provide are free.

Staff can also give you advice about the kinds of books or other activities your child might enjoy at different ages. They can give you ideas on how you can help your child learn.

Find out more

See what's on offer at your local children's centre or visit Foundation Years for a range of resources and contacts.