Isle of Wight Council

Early Years Service - Information for Parents

Helping Your Child to Learn

Cartoon drawing of children blowing bubbles

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a single quality framework to support children's learning and development, welfare and safety from birth to five years (end of child's reception year).

The EYFS ensures:

  • children learn through play
  • providers work closely with parents
  • your child's learning at home is taken into account
  • you are kept up to date on your child's progress
  • the needs of every children are met

All schools and registered early years providers in the maintained, private, voluntary and independent sectors must follow the EYFS.

This includes:

  • Reception and nursery classes in maintained and independent schools
  • Day nurseries and pre-schools
  • Childminders

For young children it is important that they are made to feel safe and secure in their surroundings. This is aided by having a 'key person' within the setting who gets to know the children and parents and builds a positive relationship with the family.

More information for parents can be found on the Foundation Years website and the Early Intervention Foundation website.

Early years and childcare provisions are regulated by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted).

As a parent it is what you do with your child that makes a difference...

You are able to help influence the way your child learns starting from when they are born and taking place in the home. This is often referred to as the Home Learning Environment.

All children learn through play and research tells us that if you involve your child in the following key activities then the benefits to your child will be good social skills, a better understanding of what is right and wrong and an appetite for learning.

Hungry Little Minds

The DfE has launched a campaign called Hungry Little Minds. This is to encourage parents to support their child’s early learning and communication and provides simple hints and activities to do with your children.

Ideas for learning

Here are some ideas on how, as a parent, you can support through activities:
  • Reading books - Bookstart is a national programme that encourages parents and carers to enjoy books with children
  • Visits to the library - every school holiday you will find events on in a library near you, most are free and great fun. Find out what is available at your Local Library
  • Getting out and about - explore your neighbourhood with your child. Not only is it healthy, the experience of all weathers encourages a range of activities (jumping in puddles, collecting leaves, building sandcastles, making a snowman, etc) and holding conversations. 
  • Songs and nursery rhymes
  • Drawing, painting and being creative
  • Encourage your child to play with friends
  • Playing with letters and numbers - count when getting dressed or cook together counting and measuring. Let your child use their toys to tell you stories

Top tips for communication

Please select the appropriate age range for your child below: 



If you and your child know eight nursery rhymes then your child will be prepared for reading.

If you ask your child a question you should give them 10 seconds to reply as they need this time to think.

Singing with your child releases 'happy hormones'.

Your child will be following the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework when attending their nursery, pre-school or childminder.  View guidance on understanding how your child learns and develops in the early years foundation stage.

Courses and workshops

We don't take exams in order to be a parent - with our first child we have 'L' plates and we learn parenting skills on those early journeys.  Sometimes we take a wrong turn, get lost or confused, but life continues to educate us and provides opportunities to build on. To see what courses or workshops are available, it's worth checking out Adult and Community Learning. Your local Family Centre can also provide opportunities for you to learn with your child.