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EYFS – stages of learning & development

CMS Vocational Training Hadyn Luke posted this on Monday 23rd of July 2018 Hadyn Luke 23/07/2018


EYFS – stages of learning & development

The statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage became effective on 3 April 2017. It sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five years old.

Our previous blog (Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)) gave an overview of the framework; now we are looking in more detail at learning and developing requirements.

The seven areas of learning and development

The framework sets out seven defined areas that are required in the shaping of educational programmes for early years.

Three of these are considered prime areas that are essential for “igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive”. They are:

  • Communication and language – ensuring children experience a rich language environment, develop skills and grow in confidence of expression, and become used to speaking and listening in different situations.
  • Physical development – giving young children the chance to be active and interactive, develop co-ordination, understand the importance of physical activity and learn about healthy eating.
  • Personal, social and emotional development – developing confidence and a positive sense of themselves and others, while forming positive relationships, acquiring social skills and learning emotional and behavioural management.

The other four complementary aspects of learning and development are:

  • Literacy – starting to read and write, with access to a range of reading materials.
  • Mathematics – developing skills in using numbers, counting, simple calculations, measuring etc.
  • Understanding the world – finding out about people, places, technology and the environment to help them understand the world and their community
  • Expressive arts and design – exploring various media and materials, being encouraged to share thoughts, ideas and feelings through activities such as art, music, dance, role-play, design and technology.

How should these be applied?

Working alongside parents and carers, providers of the Early Years Foundation Stage should follow these seven areas of learning and development with children in their care.

This is intended to help prepare each child for school and give them a good foundation for their future progress, so that they can benefit from the opportunities that are presented to them in later life.

Those working with the youngest children should focus first on the three prime areas, which will later lead on to the four complementary aspects of learning and development.

All providers should monitor the welfare of the child, with a key person assigned to the child. As part of their approach, providers should carry out assessments of a child’s progress and communicate this to parents/carers. If a child is not advancing as expected in any of the three prime areas, practitioners should investigate whether a child needs specialist help and should liaise with the relevant agencies.

Children whose home language is not English may need to be given additional opportunities, both to use their home language in play and learning and to develop their English language skills.

The importance of play

At the heart of Early Years Foundation Stage learning is play. This should be both planned and purposeful, and should include play that is guided by the practitioner as well as that initiated by the child in ratios suited to each individual child.

Children’s activities can include:

  • Playing and exploring
  • Active learning
  • Creating and thinking critically


The seven areas of learning and development are essential for a child to progress, and both child care and educational providers should be aware of this framework and use it to help children in their care.

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