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Meadowdale Primary School


Early Years Foundation Stage


The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is mandatory for all schools, early years providers and early years settings attended by young children – that is children from birth to the end of the academic year in which they have their fifth birthday. The principles which guide the work of all early years practitioners are grouped into four themes:

  • A unique child
  • Positive relationships
  • Enabling environments
  • Learning and development

These four guiding themes work together to underpin effective practice in the delivery of the EYFS. The Early Years curriculum is taught through seven areas of learning and development and activities are carefully planned so that children are given the opportunity to explore, develop, practice and build up ideas, skills and concepts. Well-planned play is a key way in which children learn with enjoyment and challenge and is an important part of a child’s development.

The Areas of Learning and Development

All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.  Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive and are called the prime areas: 

Communication and Language

Communication and Language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations. 

What you can do to help your child:

• Set aside time for talking and listening to each other. Listen to your child when they want to talk, have strong feelings, or have a problem. 

• Let your child finish talking and then respond. 

• Remember to use language that your child will understand. 

Physical Development

Improving control and coordination of their bodies while learning to move and to handle equipment. What you can do to help your child:

  • Provide opportunities for running, climbing, chasing and sitting up straight – on chairs and on the floor.
  • Help them to use a knife and fork at meal times, especially if they are going to have a school dinner.
  • Practise doing up zips and buttons, and dressing and undressing independently. The children will be expected to undress and dress with some independence for P.E. and also to do up their coats for playtimes.
  • Provide opportunities to use scissors, such as cutting out pictures to make a scrapbook or collage. They will enjoy chopping up paper (the confetti stage!) and then become more proficient with experience.
  • If your child is interested in writing, please teach them to use lowercase letters (apart from the first letter of names.)

Personal, social and emotional development

Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities. 

What you can do to help your child:

  • Encourage your child to be curious about new experiences and try new activities, at first with your support and as they gain in confidence to become more independent.
  • Encourage your child to dress and undress independently and to manage his/her own personal hygiene, such as going to the toilet and using a handkerchief.
  • Take turns and increase concentration– play games such as simple card games, party games etc., encourage waiting patiently for their turn, and persevere until the game is completed – tidy away the game.

Specific Areas

There are also four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied: 


Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children need to be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest. 

What you can do to help your child:

  • Encourage your child to use pens, pencils, chalk, and paints.  Give them opportunities to explore making marks on paper.
  • If they want to write their name, please teach them to write it in lower-case letters with a capital letter only at the beginning.
  • Write your child’s name and help him or her to recognise it.
  • Share books, talk about the pictures, read the story and discuss the story.  Be enthusiastic about reading and be an example to your child, by reading yourself.  Regularly visit the library.  Read notices and signs as you go out on visits.


Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems and describing shapes, spaces and measures. 

What you can do to help your child:

  • Introduce the language of counting during activities such as cooking and shopping.
  • Use language that compares size, length and weight. 
  • Help your child to recognise shapes, colours and numbers in familiar places by playing matching games, dominoes and games that need dice.

Expressive Arts and Design

Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

What you can do to help your child:

  • Provide resources such as paint, crayons and dough to allow your child to create works of art.
  • Encourage your child to role-play using dressing up clothes and to use their imagination when playing with their toys such as Lego, dolls etc. You will need to be involved at first, until they are able to play independently.
  • Let your child enjoy and invent sounds using simple percussion instruments e.g. a wooden spoon and saucepan.
  • Sing songs and say rhymes. Encourage them to join in familiar stories.

Understanding the World

Understanding the World involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment. 

What you can do to help your child:

  • Provide opportunities to investigate and ask questions about the world around them. Use everyday situations such as bath-time, visits to the park to encourage curiosity and to use the various senses to make sense of the world.