EYFS Explained! Find out About the Learning Framework at The POD & Preschool
Whether your child is at nursery, preschool or cared for by a childminder, you’ll most likely have heard the term EYFS uttered at some point! That’s because at the heart of every OFSTED registered setting that caters for children from birth to 5 years, EYFS is the official standard for learning and development in the UK.
When it comes to your child’s first steps into education, it’s easy for parents to get lost with all the new terminology! You may have heard us talk about EYFS but what does it actually mean and how does it shape what goes on in the POD or at Preschool? To help you out, we thought we’d do a quick round up of EYFS and explain a bit about how we bring it to life!


EYFS Explained

EYFS is an acronym that stands for Early Years Foundation Stage and is the government’s framework of education for children from birth to the age of 5. It’s basically a set of principles that guide and shape the learning process in Early Years settings to make sure that all children are given the right support and skills they need before they start school.

The POD nursery school wilmslow

The Principles of EYFS

Whilst the EYFS framework can sound really official when you think about little people just starting out on their learning journey, its principles are in fact, all about having fun, learning through play and getting children to feel good about themselves. The EYFS recognises that all children are different and that they learn in different ways, so it ensures that learning environments (i.e. preschools, nurseries, childminders etc) cater to each individual child’s needs and interests. The EYFS provides a broad and balanced curriculum, giving children the freedom to learn at their own pace and be inspired by their individual interests. This means that Early Years settings (like our POD and Preschool) are geared up to be amazing places of discovery and imagination, places that inspire creativity, spark curiosity, and encourage friendship.


The EYFS Educational Experience

EYFS aims to provide every child a super springboard that sets them up for future learning success. Irrespective of their background or circumstance, every child is given the tools, learning environment, and social and emotional skills they need to thrive. At The POD, it’s our job (and joy) to bring a love of learning to every child in our care. It’s true we add a little extra sprinkle of our own magic into everything we do, but we also adhere to the 7 focus areas that make up the EYFS framework for success.

The POD nursery school wilmslow

The 7 Areas of EYFS are Split into Prime & Specific Areas.

The EYFS has 7 focus areas to help kids grow and learn.  There are 3 Prime areas (that lay the foundation for learning) and 4 Specific Areas (that develop specific types of learning).

Prime areas of learning are included in everything we do. They are the building blocks that set children up for future success.


Prime Area #1: Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)

How children make friends and build their social and emotional intelligence. For younger children this is explored with activities that involve turn-taking, learning to share toys and playing games that involve winning (and losing). At the POD and Preschool, we’re always helping our kids to deal with BIG emotions and giving them the words, tools and space to express their feelings. Our sensory garden and peaceful potting shed are the perfect places for kids to spend some calm time and a safe place to talk about feelings. From following our Golden Rules (kind hands, kind feet, kind mouths) that help keep our POD a safe and happy place, to developing a community of little people where everyone feels valued and listened to, we know that working on our social and emotional intelligence is oh so important for happy healthy kids!


Prime Area #2: Communication and Language (C&L)

How children learn to express themselves, build their vocabulary and better understand others around them. At The POD we provide a language rich environment that encourages kids to use their words in all different types of scenarios. Whether we’re singing rhyming songs, using our language in role play areas or heading off on nature walks that encourage children to describe their environment, we’re always looking for opportunities to help our little people’s voices to emerge. Should any of our kids need a bit of extra help along the way, our nifty speech and language toolkit (WellComm) has lots of additional play-based activities to expand and support their growing communication skills in a way that suits them best.


Prime Area #3: Physical Development (PD)

Encouraging children to move and be active. From climbing trees (risk taking in a safe environment), running, jumping or dancing, we know that boosting children’s physical development not only keeps kids healthy, but it builds their gross motor skills and self-esteem too. We love our mindful movement activities and kids’ yoga sessions that are brilliant for balance and strength as much as we do our team sports. From obstacle courses to den building, we are always encouraging our kids to be active and healthy. We’re not just focussed on the big movements though, fine motor skills such as squeezing playdoh, emerging scissor skills and squelching sensory tuff trays also build those all-important fine motors skills our kiddos will need for pen grip and writing later!


Next, are the Specific areas of the EYFS that deep dive into additional skill sets.


Specific Area #1: Literacy (L)

How children recognise and understand letters and sounds as they learn to read and write. Whether it’s enjoying shared reading time in our hot air balloon library or singing rhyming songs, we’re always bringing words and sounds to life in the most fun way possible. Joining the dots between the written word and its meaning is a huge ‘Eureka’ moment for our children. We explore sounds (Phonics) with songs and actions and ‘decode’ written words with our emerging sounding-out skills. We encourage letter recognition with alphabet inspired tuff trays and begin to identify important ones (like the first letter in our name) as we start to understand the meaning behind them.


Specific Area #2: Mathematics (M)

How children learn to count, identify shapes and recognise patterns. When we are playing shop keepers or making mud pies (and counting out our ingredients), we are, in fact, practising our maths skills. Alongside songs and games that bring numbers to life and clever sorting activities that help us recognise what amount each number represents; we are starting to build number confidence and recall. We love counting to 10 (or higher), learning about different shapes (and their names), and comparing sizes and measuring stuff. It helps kids to grasp complex concepts in a fun relatable way and it means we’re cleverly moulding mini mathematicians of the future.


Specific Area #3: Understanding the World (UTW) 

How children understand and relate to the world around them. Understanding of the world begins as children start to take notice of things around them, as they explore the natural world and learn about different communities. There’s nothing we love more than being outside so whether we’re exploring our garden and all its bug-tastic inhabitants, or becoming nature explorers with our Practically Wild crew, our kids are always learning about the world we live in and the importance of caring for our environment.

Our POD and Preschool schedules are always jam-packed with cultural celebrations that whisk our kids’ imaginations off to exciting places. Whether we’re celebrating Chinese New Year or delighting in the festival of Diwali, we’re boosting our Cultural Capital in the most engaging ways. From music and dance to cuisine and customs, reading stories or singing songs, we’re learning and growing-up to be well-rounded citizens of the world.


Specific Area #4: Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)

How children play with a wide range of materials and media to support their creativity and imagination. Getting creative is our total love language! Painting, junk modelling, playdoh moulding, picture collages are everyday staples at the POD and Preschool. Not only are they LOADS of fun, but we’re learning lots too. From exploring colours (and mixing them) to expressing ourselves through dance or drama, we’re building our little one’s self-esteem, individuality and confidence. Whether we’re practicing paint splats (just like the artist Jaxon Pollock) or crafting our own character to accompany a book we’re reading that week, we’re bringing our artistic A-game every day.


The POD nursery school wilmslow

Every Child has their own Individual Learning Journey

How every child develops within the POD or Preschool is all part of their unique learning journey. By watching and engaging with our children as they play, when they question something or discover something new and exciting, we are keeping an eye on how they are developing and figuring out new ways to further deepen their understanding. The EYFS framework is all about stretching and encouraging inquiring minds with a range of exciting activities. It isn’t about ticking boxes. All our activities cleverly mix the 7 areas of the EYFS in ways that bring out multiple skills. For example, doing big paintings (EAD) may involve standing up (core strength PD), doing swishing movements with your arms – (balance PD) and talking about the colours and marks they are making (C&L). When they’ve finished and are proud of their work being displayed or taken home, we’re also boosting their self-esteem too (PSED)‌!


Learning Through Play

EYFS learning is all play based. The kids don’t realise they’re learning of course, they’re too busy having fun, being spontaneous and exploring the world around them. Everything we do is designed to delight our kids, but we’re also trained to bring out skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and self-expression too. Whether we’re scooping, sifting or pouring liquids (learning about volume and working on our hand eye coordination) or using our imaginations in the role play area (learning about social interactions and making sense of the world around us), we’re constantly acquiring the soft skills the EYFS is set up to provide. Play is incredibly important. It’s not only one of the best ways children learn but we know it is fundamental to their wellbeing and future success.


The Early Years really are the most important years. At The POD, we're all about creating a safe, fun-filled space that’s chock-full with exciting activities, lots of adventures, and tons of support. That way, we can be sure we’re setting our kids up for the best start in life, giving them all the tools they need to grow up healthy, happy, and ready to take on the world! If you’ve got any questions about the EYFS framework or want to know more, then why not get in touch?

If you’d like to find out more about the practical magic we can bring to your family please get in touch.
Call 07581 156684 or email sophie@practicallyfamily.co.uk