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Early Years (EYFS)

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Explaining the Early Learning Goals

At the end of Year R (the Foundation Stage), each child will be assessed against 17 key areas called the Early Learning Goals (ELG's).  This is known as the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Profile.  For each early learning goal, practitioners must judge whether a child is meeting the level of development expected at the end of the Reception year ('expected'), exceeding this level ('exceeding'), or not yet reaching this level ('emerging').


The completed EYFS Profile also includes a short commentary on each child's skills and abilities in relation to the three key characteristics of effective learning.  This will support future curriculum planning and will provide the Year 1 teacher with important information about each child's approach to learning.


The early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old.


All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.



There are assessments when a child is aged between 2 and 3 years and at the end of the academic year when they turn 5.  These are not tests for the child - the assessments are based of EYFS practitioners' observations.


Information from these assessments is used for parents, practitioners and teachers to support children's learning and development.


Early years learning concentrates on 7 areas split between prime and specific areas of learning, however they are not to be used as checklists as each child develops at their own rate and in their own way.  Similarly, children do not need to have achieved every part of each ELG to be deemed as at the expected level of development.  Teaching is often done through play, where the child learns about subjects and other people through games.


The prime areas of learning are:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development


The specific areas of learning are:

  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design


Further Information for Parents

Read more about EYFS for parents on the Foundation Years website.  It shows you how you can support your child during the foundation years and what you can expect from the professionals working with your child.


At the end of Reception (the Foundation Stage), each child will be assessed against a number of key areas called the Early Learning Goals (ELG). We aim to explain what is expected for each area here:


Communication and Language

ELG 01 - Listening and Attention

Children listen attentively in a range of situations.  They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events, and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions.  They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.


ELG 02 - Understanding

Childen follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.  They answer 'how' and 'why' questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.


ELG 03 - Speaking

Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners' needs.  They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future.  They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.


Physical Development

ELG 04 - Moving and Handling

Children show good control and coordination in large and small movements.  They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space.  They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.


ELG 05 - Health and Self-Care

Children know the importance for good health through physical exercise and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe.  They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.


Personal, Social and Emotional Development

ELG 06 - Self-Confidence and Self-Awareness

Children are confident to try new activities, and to say why they like some activities more than others.  They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities.  They say when they do or don't need help.


ELG 07 - Managing Feelings and Behaviour

Children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others' behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable.  They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow rules.  They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.


ELG 08 - Making Relationships

Children play cooperatively, taking turns with others.  They take account of one another's ideas about how to organise their activity.  They show sensitivity to others' needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.



ELG 09 - Reading

Childen read and understand simple sentences.  They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately.  They also read some common irregular words.  They demonstrate an understanding when talking with others about what they have read.


ELG 10 - Writing

Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds.  They also write some irregular common words.  They write sentences which can be read by themselves and others.  Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.



ELG 11 - Numbers

Children count reliably with numbers from one to twenty, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number.  Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer.  They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.


ELG 12 - Shape, Space and Measures

Children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve probelms.  They recognise, create and describe patterns.  They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.


Understanding the World

ELG 13 - People and Communities

Children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members.  They know that other children don't always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this.  They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.


ELG 14 - The World

Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.  They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one to another.  They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.


ELG 15 - Technology

Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools.  They select and use technology for particular purposes.


Expressive Arts and Design

ELG 16 - Exploring and Using Media and Materials

Children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them.  They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.


ELG 17 - Being Imaginative

Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes.  They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.