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The Department for Education has this week published the details of the new Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework, to take effect in September 2012.
The publication confirms a number of key childcare and learning commitments: to reduce bureaucracy; to simplify early learning goals that nurseries are expected to achieve; to champion communication and language, together with physical, social and emotional development; and to make the most of the relationship between sector professionals and parents.
Chief executive of children’s communication charity I CAN, Virginia Bradshaw, was among those who spoke of their enthusiasm for the new direction:
“The revised EYFS means that supporting children’s communication development is now one of the most important areas of early years practice. Practitioners need skills, knowledge and training to deliver the EYFS with its increased focus on developing communication in settings and evaluating and assessing the communication development of the children in their care. This emphasis on training cannot be underestimated.
Ms Beardshaw continued:
“Ofsted’s recent report on ‘The Impact of the Early Years Foundation Stage’ found that developmental outcomes could be improved where practitioners had received training in language development, were knowledgeable about how young children learn and their stages of development and were able to plan activities to promote children’s learning and development.”
Purnima Tanuku OBE, chief executive of the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), also commented, stressing the importance of getting the practicalities right when implementing the new framework:
“The EYFS review has been a long process, and with just five months until it goes live, early years providers are anxious to get started. Members are feeding back to us that EYFS is their top priority, but worryingly almost all are saying that local authorities are cutting training support.
“The new EYFS framework, and alongside this the direction of Ofsted’s current consultation on early years inspection, puts a greater than ever emphasis on early years providers using their own judgement of how they comply with the EYFS and achieve good practice. Providers will need to look at all the changes, what it will mean for their setting, review their operations and most importantly of all plan development for their teams, along with communication to parents. Key areas that providers will want to focus on include how they comply with new welfare requirements around supervision of staff, the new two year old progress check, enriching the play and learning experience through the new Development Matters in the EYFS and leadership and management.”
Chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, Neil Leitch, thanked the Government for listening to the voice of sector professionals when refining the objectives of the new framework:
“We welcome and applaud the Government’s revised EYFS as it restates that the child is at the centre of the framework and focuses on the needs of young children at all points.
“We also welcome that the EYFS reinforces the Alliance’s core belief of learning through play, and that there will be a reduction in the amount of paperwork and bureaucracy that early years practitioners face.”