Early Years Service - Information for Parents

Helping Your Child to Learn

Cartoon drawing of children blowing bubbles

Early Years Foundation Stage

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 children with different backgrounds and levels of ability, including those with special educational needs and disabilities 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 by clicking here and the Early Intervention Foundation website by clicking here .

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.

Research tells us that if you involve your child in the following 7 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.

Here are some ideas on how as a parent you can support through activities:

  1. Reading books - 'Bookstart' is a national programme that encourages parents and carers to enjoy books with children, to find out more, visit their website by clicking here.
  2. Visits to the library - every school holiday you will find events on in a library near you, most are free and great fun.  To find out what is available at your Local Library, please click here.
  3. Playing with letters and numbers.
  4. Songs and rhymes.
  5. Drawing and painting.
  6. Encourage your child to play with friends.
  7. Getting out and about; e.g. trips to the park or woods - 'Come rain or shine'... explore your neighbourhood with your child.  Not only is it healthy (and pets can get walks too!); the experience of all weathers encourages a range of activities (jumping in puddles, collecting leaves, making a snowman, etc) and holding conversations. 

Check out our 'Top Tips' for communciating with your little one:

  • Age 0 - 12 months, please click here (PDF, 104.27KB, 1 page).
  • Age 12 - 18 months, please click here (PDF, 103.55KB, 1 page).
  • Age 18 - 24 months, please click here (PDF, 183.55KB, 1 page).
  • Age 2 - 3 years, please click here (PDF, 103.59KB, 1 page). 
  • Age 3 - 4 years, please click here (PDF, 103.92KB, 1 page).

Did you know?

  • If you and your child know 8 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.  For guidance on understanding how your child learns and develops in the early years foundation stage, please click here (PDF, 2.74MB, 36 pages).  The booklet has practical ideas on what activities you can do with your child while at home.

As a parent would you like to improve your own skills to help your child?

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 turning, 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 your Adult and Community Learning website by clicking here.  Your local Family Centre can also provide opportunities for you to learn with your child.  To find out more, visit their website.