Areas of Learning

The Seven Areas of Learning

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards that all the early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and kept healthy and safe. This is a very important stage as it helps your child get ready for school as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. From one until the age of 5, early years experiences should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure to support their development, care and learning needs.

The EYFS outlines the stages that children progress through in three prime areas and four specific areas of development as they work towards the Early Learning Goals at the end of nursery.

The three prime areas of development are:

Personal, social and emotional development:

      • Making relationships: This is about children’s social development and how they interact with adults and other children and make friends.
      • Self-confidence and & Self-awareness: This is about children’s personal development and how they develop on understanding of themselves as an individual.
      • Managing feelings and behaviour: This is about children’s development and their growing understanding of feelings, emotions and empathy. It includes, for example, learning to behave appropriately in different environments, using behaviour goals to support children’s understanding, learning to wait rather than expecting instant gratifications, etc.

Physical development:

      • Moving and Handling: This is about children’s fine (small) and gross (large) motor development including early mark making.
      • Health and Self-care: This is about how children learn to be healthy (hand washing, healthy eating, sleep, drinking, toileting, etc.) and stay safe (crossing roads, sun protection, stranger danger, etc.).

Communication and language development:

      • Listening and Attention: This is about how children focus their attention and develop skills needed to concentrate. By school age, children need to be able to sit for a while  and listen to what is going on around them, concentrating on a speaker.
      • Understanding: This is how interactions between adults and children help them to develop an understanding of language including asking and answering questions and following instruction.
      • Speaking: this is about children’s communication including their speech and language development, how they express themselves and use appropriate language.
Circle time
Invitation to play
Speech and language development

The four specific areas of development are:

Mathematical development:

      • Numbers: This is about children’s understanding of numbers and calculations and their ability to solve problems.
      • Shape, Space and Measures: This is about children exploring a range of mathematical activities including time, money, space, distance, speed, weight, capacity, position, patterns, etc.

Literacy development:

      • Reading: This is about children’s exposure to a wide range of books, rhymes, stories, role play with puppets, magazines, comics and other written documents.
      • Writing: This is about children’s developing phonic understanding which develops as they are exposed to the written words, and start to give meaning to the marks they make.

Understanding the World development

      • People and community: This is about how children learn about the people and communities in which they live and their growing understanding of diversity in the world around them.
      • The world: This is about living things (animals, plants, minibeasts, sea creatures), communities in the world around us and similarities and differences between the natural and man-made.
      • Technology: This is about children’s early exploration of technology to learn about cause and effect- buttons and flaps, remote controlled cars, etc. leading on to exploration of ITC-computers, cameras and digital media.

Expressive Arts and Design development

      • Exploring and using media and materials: This is about children exploring the world around them through a wide range of arts and crafts, including music and dancing.
      • Being imaginative: This is about children using their imaginations to bring the world around them alive. It covers areas of provision such as role play, dressing up, drama, music and dance, technology, storie with puppets, etc.
Counting insects
Exploring the sea
Literacy development

The characteristics of effective learning

      • Playing and exploring
        (engagement: finding out and exploring, playing with what they know, being willing to have a go).
      • Active Learning
        (motivation: being involved and concentrating, keeping trying, enjoy achieving what they set out to do).
      • Creating and Thinking Critically
        (thinking: having their own ideas, making links, choosing ways to do things).
Weight and grouping
What's under the sea
Understanding the world