As an Ofsted registered Childminder in England I follow a legal document called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This describes your child’s development up to the age of 5. So nurseries and reception classes at infant schools will also follow this legal document.
The EYFS tells me:
1. How to keep children safe and promote their welfare
This includes keeping my surroundings and equipment safe, administering medicines, providing healthy meals and snacks, ongoing training like 1st aid and food hygiene, how many children I can look after, managing children’s behaviour, recording accidents, sharing information with parents/carers, confidentiality, equal opportunities, complaints, child protection issues and risk assessments on outings with the children. It emphasises keeping children healthy, safe and secure so that they can enjoy learning and grow in confidence.
2. The 7 areas of learning
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first which are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning. These are:
The prime areas will help children to develop skills in 4 specific areas which are:
Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside and so I plan and let children choose activities at my house which cover all of these 7 areas of learning.
3. How to do assessments to make sure each child is progressing and thriving
Parents sign permission slips for me to observe and make assessments on children’s development. I use these to draw up individual plans and summaries which include things that you can do at home. With your permission I also share these with nurseries that your children attend so that we can all be working together. Children generally follow a set pattern of development however, they may not all pass through at the same rate and by doing these observations and sharing the information with you as the parent and with the nursery or reception class any problems can be picked up and dealt with. Likewise children who are excelling can have their learning extended further.
4. The expected levels of development that children should pass through and the Early Learning Goals which are normally reached by each child at the end of their reception year at school when they are 5 years old
Under the revised EYFS I now have to supply each parent with a “progress check at age 2”. This can be done any time when the child is 2 years old. So if they only join me when they are 2 and a half I will need to do observations first to be able to find out how they are developing before I can complete the 2 year progress check. This check will highlight areas where your child is progressing well and any where they might need some extra help or support – and how mums and dads and other family members or carers can work with me to help. You might find it useful to share the information from the check with other professionals such as health visitors (who can use it as part of the health and development review).
Parents will get a further written summary called the EYFS Profile at the end of reception class when their child is 5. This will be done by the child’s teacher and passed to parents/carers in the summer term before the end of the reception year.
You can find information regarding the Early Years Foundation Stage which includes the early learning goals at Early Years . The foundation years website also includes a range of resources and contacts.