Within the Early Years Foundation Stage, there are seven areas of learning and development that shape educational programmes in both nursery and reception classes. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. There are three ‘prime’ areas and these are essential for building children’s enthusiasm and capacity to learn. The remaining four ‘specific’ areas are through which the 'prime' areas are strengthened and applied.
The seven areas of learning and development are:
Communication and Language
The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. This involves developing good listening skills and maintaining attention. It includes how children speak to their peers and adults in back and forth interactions, using new vocabulary and understanding what has been said to them.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
The development of personal, social and emotional skills is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. This area involves developing positive attitudes to learning, social skills, respect for others and emotional well-being. Children will also learn how to lead healthy lives and manage personal needs independently.
Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination. This involves improving skills in movement and co-ordination, manipulation and control.
Children develop their communication and language skills in reading and writing. Language comprehension is developed through stories, songs and rhymes and word reading through the teaching of phonics to read words independently. Writing is the articulation of ideas, transcribed through handwriting and spelling skills.
Children learn to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. Children will also develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures.
Understanding the World
Children learn to make sense of the world around them and their community. They are encouraged to observe and ask questions, noticing similarities and differences whilst learning new vocabulary. A range of experiences, visits, stories and non-fiction, enhances their knowledge of the diverse world in which they live.
Expressive arts and design
Children develop artistic and cultural awareness to support their imagination and creativity. They have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, They experience quality and variety in what they see, hear and participate in developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts.
The level of development children will be expected to have attained by the end of the EYFS is defined by the Early Learning Goals (ELGs). The majority of children will achieve most of the early learning goals by the end of the reception year. The ELGs should support teachers to make an holistic, best-fit judgement about a child’s development, and their readiness for year 1.