The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

A guide for parents and carers

Why do I need to know about EYFS?

  • The EYFS will be the stage your child is in when they attend a setting or a childminder’s home between birth and the age of five. It's also the stage that they are in until the end of reception year at school.
  • Children do best when parents and professionals work together.
  • It's important to remember that you know more about your own child than anyone else. Practitioners should be asking about your child and sharing information with you about your child’s progress.
  • Understanding what your child is doing when they are with others will help you to notice how well they are developing and learning.
  • The part you play in their learning and the choices you make will make a difference to their future.

What is the EYFS?

  • The EYFS is a stage of children’s development from birth to the end of their first year (reception) year in school.
  • The EYFS framework describes how early years practitioners should work with children and their families to support their development and learning.
  • It describes how your child should be kept safe and cared for and how all concerned can make sure that your child achieves the most that they can in their earliest years of life.
  • It's based on four important principles.

What are the EYFS principles?

Theme: A Unique Child
Principle: Every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
Theme: Positive Relationships
Principle: Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person.
Theme: Enabling Environments
Principle: The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.
Theme Learning and Development
Principle: Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and interconnected.

What can parents and carers do?

Parents and carers are their children’s first teachers. When they are with you learning can happen at any time and anywhere, for example through:

  • Being generous with praise and cuddles
  • Reading things together
  • Playing games, singing nursery rhymes
  • Talking about what you can see in the park or on the street
  • Counting the stairs as you go up or down

Why are the years from birth to five so special?

The years from birth to five see the greatest growth and learning for all children.

  • Good health
  • To be happy
  • To feel safe
  • To be successful

Early learning is the key to your child’s future and families make the greatest difference at this stage.


Family Information Service

01904 554444

fis@york.gov.uk