2021 is set to be a year of major change in the Early Years sector, as we look forward to the new Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework.
February saw the release of the draft framework as part of a legally required period calling for commentary on the final set of proposed changes. The framework is vitally important because it sets the rules that all early years settings and professionals in their work, so knowing the changes that are coming into effect is vital.
This commentary period is extremely important, as it is a chance for you as an Early Years Professional to make your voice heard and feed in to the rules that yourself and your colleagues will have to work by. The current period for comment covers all of the areas in RED in the latest draft.
Feeling lost in the sea of change, from the major changes in practice to those tiny ones easily missed? Then worry not, as we have your back!
That Nursery Life has gone through the new framework and created a guide to help you check for yourself the anticipated new changes so that you can prepare and think about what this will mean for your setting and practice. It is available HERE.
There have been significant changes to the areas of learning and development.
These include a fundamental change to the requirement that learning and development must be implemented through “planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child initiated activity”.
Instead now, and in a major departure, the draft framework has replaced this with a clear statement: “This framework does not prescribe a particular teaching approach”
The seven areas of learning have been expanded and tweaked.
Major changes from each include:
Communication and Language: The new framework highlights the importance of quality conversations between adults and children, emphasising too the importance of back-and-forth interactions with children to provide the foundations for language and cognitive development.
Part of this process will include adults commenting on what children are interested in and echoing back what they say, adding in additional vocabulary. This is accompanied by sensitive questioning, to allow children to become more comfortable “using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures”.
Personal, Social & Emotional Development: There is a new statement that “PSED is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, while children’s personal development is underpinned by the “important attachments that shape their social world. Additionally, their relationships with adults need to be “strong, warm and supportive”.
There are specific things that children should be supported to do, including managing emotions, developing a positive sense of self, setting simple goals, having confidence in their own abilities, persisting and waiting for what they want, and direct their attention as necessary.
Children should also learn to make “good friendships”, while adults should “model and guide” children to look after their bodies, eat healthily and manage their personal needs independently.
Physical Development: the new framework cites guidance on physical activity from the Chief Medical Officer, which all professionals should seek to make themselves aware of.
There is a new emphasis on progression of physical development, starting from “sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness”.
Babies will need to be offered tummy time, crawling, and play movement with both objects and adults.
Interestingly, the new EYFS also states a connection between fine motor control and literacy.
There is a new emphasis on developing “proficiency, control and confidence” involving small world activities, puzzles, and small tools, among other activities and objects.
Literacy: The new EYFS framework emphasises the responsibility that it is “Crucial for children to develop a lifelong love of reading”. Meanwhile a new definition of reading is included as consisting of “language comprehension and word reading”.
Writing meanwhile involves spelling and handwriting, newly defined as “transcription”, and articulating and structuring ideas in speech before writing, defined as “composition”.
Mathematics: a “strong grounding in number” is outlined as essential in allowing children to “excel mathematically”.
Children will be expected to learn to count, confidently, up to 10, and recognise the relationship between those numbers up to 10. They should also be given ample opportunity to apply this knowledge and understanding to develop a “Secure base of knowledge and vocabulary” in mathematics.
As with literature, there is a responsibility for children to develop a positive relationship with and interest in mathematics.
Understanding the World: The new framework emphasises that the frequency and range of experiences increases children’s knowledge and “Sense of the world around them”. Named experiences include visiting parks, meeting Police Officers, etc.
Expressive Arts and Design: The new framework makes a statement that artistic and cultural awareness supports imagination and creativity, and that regular opportunities to engage with the arts are important.
There is a need for frequency, repetition, and depth of experiences to support “interpreting and appreciating what they heard, respond to and observe”.
Prime Areas: The framework changes from its previous focus to ensuring a “strong foundation for children’s development in the three prime areas
There are also major changes in the Early Learning Goals, including a new definition:
“ELG’s should not be used as a curriculum; should support teachers to make judgements about development and readiness for Year 1 based on knowledge of the child and expertise; and recorded evidence is not needed”.
There is also a new outline of expected development in the seven areas of learning, from page 10 onwards, or page 6. of our guide.
One final area in which major change is being recommended, and will be a key area of the call for comments before the March 18th deadline, is around qualification, with a new emphasis on “approved” and “full and relevant” qualifications. These new additions will be of particular interest to setting managers and we encourage our readers to review and consider them.
What are the changes you are most pleased with, or most confused by? Get involved in the conversation at #ournurserylife