Do you follow parenting accounts on social media? If so, you’ve likely noticed a conscious social shift in the way we approach caring for and teaching our children.
Authoritarian methods, demands, threats, and bribes are falling out of favor. Now, we understand how children thrive when we offer them trust, love, and acceptance instead. In turn, governments and education bodies across the world have altered their early years foundation stage (EYFS) standards to incorporate these principles and themes.
With changes coming into force from September 2021, what are the four themes of the EYFS? Keep reading to find out.
If you’re looking for a clear EYFS definition, it’s the education stage for children aged from 0 to 5. It was first introduced in England as part of the Childcare Act in 2006. But, from September 2021, the EYFS framework is set to change.
The Four EYFS Themes
As well as clearer goals, four key themes form the cornerstone of the new EYFS standards:
1. A Unique Child
This theme celebrates each child as unique. But, it also encourages them to see themselves as equally capable and in a state of constant development. This then motivates them to learn more about themselves and the world around them.
Within a safe and nurturing environment, practitioners can observe, assess, and plan for each child’s ongoing education. Creating ‘All about me’ display EYFS boards or reading ‘All about me’ topic EYFS books helps support children to develop a positive sense of their own identity. Celebrating their uniqueness also strengthens the value and respect they have for others.
2. Positive Relationships
The second EYFS theme states how children learn to be independent within positive relationships.
Through modeling and teaching, practitioners must show that a positive relationship is warm and loving. It must also be supportive, stimulating, and responsive to a child’s needs, interests, and feelings.
Practitioners should also show that consistency in setting boundaries is fundamental to a positive relationship. This strengthens the children’s autonomy and level of emotional understanding.
3. Enabling Environments
Enabling environments foster development by valuing all people and all forms of learning. This includes practitioners supporting and encouraging children to explore and take risks.
Each child’s experiences must respond to their individual needs. This, in combination with stimulating and relevant resources and rich learning opportunities, is vital in an enabling environment.
4. Learning and Development
This final theme emphasizes how children learn and develop in different ways. This includes the care and education of children with special educational needs and disabilities within the EYFS framework.
Practitioners must respond to each child’s needs to ensure they all have the chance to engage in challenging, playful, and creative activities. For example, while an activity planning sheet or critical thinking tasks might be ideal for one child, playing and exploring may be more effective for another child’s development.
Understanding the Four Themes of EYFS
The four themes of England’s EYFS standards show early years education practitioners how to encourage, support, and celebrate the learning process. By understanding the uniqueness of each child, education centers can tailor their methods to individual needs through nurturing relationships within an enabling environment.
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