Alison Spencer (FS1 Teacher)
'What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?'
It's for children aged 3-5, and covers the years they spend from the beginning of nursery or pre-school to the end of Foundation 2 in primary school. It was introduced in September 2021 to cover these important years in your child's life. The latest framework for EYFS was introduced in September 2020.
From starting FS1 your child will experience a range of learning opportunities which staff plan, focussing on the Development Matters statements and the Early Learning Goals.
They set out what most children are expected to achieve by the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage, which encompasses seven areas of learning.
'Will the goals put pressure on my child?'
No! Most of the time, children will feel they're just playing and having fun. Sometimes they'll choose what they want to do. Sometimes they'll take part in an activity that helps them learn how to concentrate or develop a particular skill, like using scissors or writing.
'Will my child be tested at the end of the Foundation Stage?'
There will be an assessment made at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage called the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. The assessments are made by observing the children at work and play and the children do not notice that they are being assessed.
'What is the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile?'
The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile is a national scheme to enable teachers to record observations and summarise your child's achievements at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Teachers record achievement based on their observations of your child's activities in all seven areas of learning throughout the year. They do not need to carry out any set assessment activities.
'What about when my child starts the Foundation class?'
When your child first starts FS1 Nursery or FS2 Reception class, their teacher carries out a baseline assessment, to find out about your child's learning needs. It's not a formal test. It's often done simply by doing some regular classroom activity with your child, such as looking at a book with them, so they won't even be aware they're being assessed. It's not something you or your child should worry about.
In Reception there is now a government baseline assessment for the children to complete with a teacher. More details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reception-baseline-assessment-information-for-parents
'What can I do to help my child?'
You're probably doing it already! Finding out what they have done at nursery, discovering what they like and don't like, encouraging them to ask questions, listen to others and try out new skills all help support their learning process. Reading your child stories and helping them to learn nursery rhymes is particularly helpful. Learning the key words and phonetic patterns that are sent home is crucial to success in Key Stage 1.
In both FS1 and FS2 we use Evidence Me to make observations of your child and we send them to you fortnightly so you can see what your child has been learning. These observations should also give you an insight of things your child may need to practise more, such as putting on and fastening their own coat/pencil grip or counting. We also hold parents evening every term to discuss your child's progress. If in doubt, ask your child's class teacher, who will be delighted to help you.