What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

The EYFS is a framework for the care and learning of all children from birth to the age of five years or until the end of the Reception year at school. The EYFS Framework describes how early years practitioners should work with children and their families to support their development and learning. It describes how your child should be kept safe and cared for and how all concerned can make sure that your child achieves the most that they can in their earliest years of life. Children do best when parents and professionals work together, therefore, staff at Footprints will work with you to achieve this and will be asking you about your child and sharing information with you about your child’s progress. It is important to remember that you know more about your own child than anyone else does and understanding what your child is doing when they are with others will help you to notice how well they are developing and learning. The part you play in their learning and the choices you make will make a difference to their future.

Why are the years from birth to five so special?

The years from birth to five see the greatest growth and learning for all children. Good health; to be happy; to feel safe; to be successful. Early learning is the key to your child’s future and families make the greatest difference at this stage.

How does the EYFS fit with the Montessori Philosophy?

The principles of the EYFS are expressed in terms that are very familiar to Montessorians: that each child is unique; that positive relationships form the basis for personal respect supporting learning; that the learning environment is important in extending learning and development; and that children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The Montessori approach is at one with the EYFS view of learning and both see observation as the key to promoting children’s learning and development.

Sensitive Periods

These are periods of intense fascination for learning a particular characteristic or skill, such as going up and down steps, putting things in order, counting or reading. It is easier for a child to learn a particular skill during the corresponding sensitive period than at any other time in his life. The Montessori classroom takes advantage of this by allowing the child freedom to select individual activities which correspond to his own periods of interest.

The Absorbent Mind

Dr Montessori wrote that the most important period of life is the period from birth to the age of six years. “For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself is being formed. But not only his intelligence; the full totality of his psychic powers….At no other age has the child a greater need of an intelligent help, and any obstacle that impedes his creative work will lessen the chance he has of achieving perfection.”

Recent research has confirmed these theories of Dr Montessori showing that 50% of a child’s mature intelligence is developed between conception and four years of age and another 30% from the age of four to eight. This would suggest the very rapid growth of intelligence in the early years and the possible great influence of the early environment on this development.