Evolution Childcare engage EYFS learning and development in nursery education for children aged 30 days to 5 years. The education and curriculum provided and delivered is the British Early Years Foundations Stage (EYFS).

EYFS learning & development in practice

The 7 areas of learning

There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. These are divided into three Prime areas and four Specific areas. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. These areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.

The three Prime areas are:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development

Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.

The four Specific areas are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

Educational programmes must involve activities and experiences for children, as follows:

Communication & language

Development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

Physical development

Development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

Personal, social & emotional development

Involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Literacy development

Involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.


Involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.

Understanding the world

Involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

Expressive arts & design

Involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Breaking these down further into their subheadings children’s experiences will consist of the following:

Physical development

  • Moving and handling: children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.
  • Health and self-care: children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.

Personal, social & emotional development

  • Self-confidence and self-awareness: children are confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help.
  • Managing feelings and behaviour: children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.
  • Making relationships: children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.

Communication & language

  • Listening and attention: children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.
  • Understanding: children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.
  • Speaking: children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.


  • Reading: children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
  • Writing: children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.


  • Numbers: children count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.
  • Shape, space and measures: children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.

Understanding the world

  • People and communities: children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.
  • The world: children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
  • Technology: children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.

Expressive arts & design

  • Exploring and using media and materials: children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
  • Being imaginative: children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.

EYFS observation and recording

EYFS Observations and Recording in the The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum requires all nurseries to carry out formative assessment from when a child first starts to attend a setting outside of the home, until the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Evolution Childcare focus their priorities towards developing sound assessment processes in order to assess and plan for each child. A clear Nursery vision is highlighted by the Evolution Childcare approach. All nursery practitioners are part of that vision as they have the skills and experience to contribute as well as willing to learn.

Observing in the Early Years can be done via various methods and techniques. Here is a brief summary of the types of methods your child’s key worker may use:

Anectodal evidence

An anecdote is a short account of a particular incident or event of an interesting or amusing nature", often biographical ("Anecdote",nd). Anecdotes are useful for taking quick, simple notes that have been observed throughout the day. They are generally written in past tense and can be written up after the event when a nursery practitioner has more time.

When taking an anecdotal observation it is good to note the time, date, place & relevant context of the event (eg. location, background information, children involved etc.). Essentially an anecdote tells story of what the observer has seen. As in all story telling, there are no strict rules for how this is done, however, it is worthwhile pointing out that staff are trained to avoid using too much interpretation within their observation as this could inhibit subsequent reflection, particularly when reviewing a number of observations together at a later time.

Diary/journal/reflective observations & portfolios

These are a fantastic way of building up a picture of the whole child, the activities they participated in and their interests. Typically consisting of a compilation of photographs, work samples and summaries of the day.

Particularly useful in group observations or integrating group observations with the individual. In many cases children (and families) can become involved in the portfolios production and in such cases it is important that the observations focus on the child’s strengths.

Developmental progress assessments/check-lists

Many Nursery Practitioners find that normally developing early learning is helped little by undertaking developmental check list observations, where the focus is less on encouraging the staff member to observe and build upon differing emerging strengths of individual children; which can appear at widely varying times, even amongst children of similar ages.

However, whilst not beneficial in supporting and fostering normal ‘individual’ learning, it does have a place in early identification and confirmation of concerns in developmental delay and ultimately is highly beneficial in ensuring early intervention strategies are applied in a case where developmental delay is confirmed and long term outcomes are then improved. It can also be a helpful tool to prompt/remind/guide nursery staff on potentially developmentally/age appropriate activities.

Cultural maps

The impact of family and culture on children and ultimately their learning is immeasurable. Understanding and supporting children and families, their culture and their learning will greatly improve educator ability to identify positive learning opportunities for children. Cultural maps are written and/or visual records of culture. Some examples elements of culture that could be included on a cultural map include: religion, belief, ethnic, knowledge, family immediate and extended, social demographics, food preferences, dress preferences etc. Cultural maps provide not only an amazing resource of knowledge and understanding for nursery staff but also an amazing opportunity for children and families to participate in the process and exploration of their own culture.

Social maps/sociograms

Socio grams are a great way to illustrate communication and interactions of a child or children within a group and their friendship preferences. Generally speaking they are normally presented visually with key references to describe the different elements on the ‘map’. Sometimes it might be helpful to overlay with other factors such as the physical layout of an environment, the presence of adults and other relevant influences to see if interactions are affected by these factors.

Event samples

Event sampling is a useful technique for observing behaviours, in particular for identifying the causes and possible consequences of certain behaviours, triggers and interactions.

Event sampling is normally recorded using the "ABC" technique:

  • A for Antecedent (possible triggers, behaviours, actions) immediately prior to the event;
  • B for the Behaviour (a summary of the observed behaviour)
  • C for the Consequences (what happened immediately after the behaviour/event.

Running records/narrative observations

These are very detailed descriptions of an event or behaviour which is recorded as it happens. They are recorded in present tense and provide step by step commentary of what is observed. They can be very helpful for closely analysing interactions or a child’s progress at acquiring particular skill/learning. Typically a running record records time in increments, although this is not always the case. The key objective is to be very detail and factual about what you see, recording things that at the time may seem meaningless, but could later help an observer breakdown or better understand the learning that is occurring.

Time samples

Time sampling is effectively the recording of a child’s activities/behaviour at pre-determined regular intervals during the day. Typically time samples are conducted half hourly but the frequency can be as often or infrequent as is appropriate to the child and situation. Time samples can be very helpful in monitoring child’s interactions, particularly if that child is quiet and overlooked or always shows a preference for only a few particular activities.


Tallies can be great ways to quickly capture information such as:

  • Individual or group engagement in a particular activity;
  • How many times/how often a situation, question or issue arises;
  • Differing opinions of children or groups of children

A clipboard, with your tallied item on noted, can easily and quickly capture the tally and then be drawn up into a simple bar graph or pie chart.

Work samples, photographs & folios

Work samples of children’s work can provide concrete evidence of children development overtime. In the same way as learning stories, diary notes etc., they also provide an opportunity for children, families and educators to share and appreciate the learning as it is occurring. Pictures can tell a thousand words and are one of the simplest ways a staff member can quickly capture and review learning at a later date. Nursery staff can make notes at the time of taking either on the work sample or picture about what the children said or did at the time, which also further enhance opportunities for later reflection and insight.

EYFS assessment

When assessing children in the Early Years Foundation Stage, practitioners must take into consideration the resource materials in the Development Matters column are only suggestions to guide and refresh knowledge.

The Practice Booklet makes and EYFS Assessment it clear that, prior to the early learning goals, the descriptions are all examples. They are not targets or outcomes, and they are certainly not a non-negotiable checklist. Assessments must have a purpose!

That purpose is to reflect individual learning in an accurate way, a way that engages young children and their parents and which makes a positive difference to their continuing experience of learning.

EYFS assessment in practice

There are two kinds of EYFS assessment that need to happen over the span of early childhood, and they are both required within the EYFS Framework.

  • Formative assessment, often called assessment for learning, is an ongoing process in which you are alert to what babies and children choose to do or how they want to extend experiences that you have made available.
  • Summative assessment, also called assessment of learning, depends on alert observation, and good descriptive records of what has happened so far. But this kind of assessment pulls together an accurate picture of this individual child at this point in time.

Summative assessment is like a snapshot, a freeze-frame that brings together all that is known about this child. You know there is much more to come ‘later’, but here you capture ‘now’.

Formative assessment is like a continuous webcam of development and interests. You will not notice everything and this week some aspects will catch your attention more than others. But your observation and related assessment are part of the continuing flow.

Informed choices

In the EYFS the usual aim of a summative assessment is to help adults to gain an understanding of a child unfamiliar to them. A summative assessment is also a time of focused communication with parents and perhaps children themselves. Some kind of summative assessment is beneficial when a child is about to leave their current provision.

The only required summative assessment in the EYFS is the Profile, which is completed in most cases by the reception class team and is the same as the Foundation Stage Profile, except for EYFS changes to the wording of early learning goals.

Summative assessment does not have to include a numerical component (quantitative); it can be exclusively descriptive (qualitative). Scores were made part of the Profile because Government wanted a means to measure children’s achievement at this point. Local authorities have to submit the totalled figures to Government and now have improvement targets as part of their Early Years Outcomes Duty.

The EYFS Profile is the only specific, written record that is compulsory. The crucial point is that any other way of recording information – formative or summative – is a matter of choice.

A good practitioner never stop being alert to what individual children are doing. Loofing, listening and noting what has caught their interest, the way they have chosen to solve this practical problem or how enthused they are, perhaps with friends, to find out lots more about what happens if you …

For much of the time with babies and young children, ‘note’ means that you notice and make informal, of-the-moment assessments about what this child or small group might appreciate from you, now or a bit later.

Many alert observations will be a mental note. Staff may ‘note’ in the sense of writing something down and putting that observation into a child’s personal folder.

Children should be able to contribute easily to this process – by words, their choices for what they want put in a folder and the photos they want taken.

Staff become familiar with individual girls and boys through the key person system in group settings. This is how they make some sense about how today links up for this child with yesterday and last week. The team can make informed guesses about how today might link forward to possibilities tomorrow and next week. In this way, observation and ongoing assessments provide the information and making sense that feeds into flexible forward planning.

EYFS next steps

In order to plan EYFS Next Steps effectively for each individual child, Evolution Childcare Nursery practitioners need to observe the children in their care so that they are aware of their abilities and interests and plan next steps. They need to know what the child has enjoyed and achieved previously. Parents are involved in the EYFS Next Steps planning process in the following ways.

  • Sharing experiences and information on what interests their child at home
  • Setting targets for their child
  • Doing activities at home that support their child to reach their target
  • Extending activities from the setting
  • Documenting their input onto the planning sheets for their child
  • Completing Next steps sheets

Our Practitioners ensure their individual learning plans for each child have space for parental input and have readily available our next steps sheets.

Fellow practitioners should also be involved alongside the key worker. Children themselves can also be involved in the planning, asking them about what they enjoy and how they feel about different activities and challenges. Practitioners may at times scribe for the children and sometimes for parents if they have EAL (English as an additional language) or basic skills.

Planning involves challenging the child to take the next step, so practitioner are fully aware of child development. A child needs to feel satisfaction in having achieved a task before moving them onto something more challenging. It is also important to remember that children enjoy revisiting an activity and learn by repetition.

EYFS Next steps & effective learning

When planning, our Nursery practitioners have a clear understanding of the characteristics of effective learning and how these thread through all the seven areas of learning – this enables key next steps to be planned effectively.

  • Playing and exploring
  • Active learning
  • Creative and thinking critically

Our practitioners are fully aware that each child is unique and will have different methods of learning. The detailed knowledge of each child helps practitioners to develop suitable activities to support their learning.

EYFS joined up learning

To enhance the EYFS Welfare Requirements – EYFS Joined up Learning and Development: Evolution Childcare have been focusing on children’s communication, Language and literacy in our approach to EYFS joined up learning.

Making authentic links between reading and talking has been incredibly efficient in helping our team to develop children’s communication, language and literacy.

While inextricably intertwined, Communication, Language and Literacy are now split under the revised Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) into a Prime and Specific areas.

Children make critical links with reading while learning the sounds, patterns and meanings of words in the context of chatting, singing and playing. The strategies that they use in acquiring language skills are also replayed and adapted when it comes to learning how to read and write.

At a practical level, young children’s natural curiosity to communicate their needs, develop their talk and understand language is positively supported and extended through the sharing of books and stories, while reading provides the perfect springboard for older children to express their ideas and interests.

Evolution Childcare help our practitioners to identify current good practice, think about how they could further support children’s talk and reading, then map out a plan of action on how to build in incremental improvements to practice over a period of time.

Evolution Childcare have their own bespoke Rhyme time bags that are available to all parents to share at home with their children in the comfort of their own homes where children will feel most comfortable and secure to try new sounds in a fun and exciting way.

EYFS welfare requirements

The Early Years Foundation Stage is a mandatory framework for all early years providers and came into effect from 1 September 2012. EYFS welfare requirements sets out the safeguarding and welfare standards for all settings to work to as well as a set of seven learning and development areas with assessment criteria.

The framework is mandatory for all early years providers from 1 September 2012. This includes maintained and non-maintained schools, independent schools and all providers on the Early Years Register.

EYFS welfare requirements framework

The framework is split into three areas.

Section 1 – The learning and development requirements

Section 2 – Assessment

Section 3 – The Safeguarding and welfare requirements

It has been developed based on every child deserving the best possible start in life and on the knowledge that a child’s experiences between birth and five years has a major impact on their future life chances.

It sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning, focusing on school readiness and providing a broad range of knowledge and skills to provide a solid foundation.

The EYFS seeks to provide:

  • Quality and consistency in all early years settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind
  • A secure foundation through learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of each individual child and are assessed and reviewed regularly
  • Partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers
  • Equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported.


The overarching principles that underpin the EYFS framework are organised into four themes:

  • A unique child
  • Positive relationships
  • Enabling environments
  • Learning and development

The safeguarding & welfare requirements

These requirements set out exactly what we must do at Nursery to ensure that the children within our care are healthy, safe and secure, have their individual needs met and positive relationships with the adults caring for them.

The Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements cover the following areas:

  • Child protection
  • Suitable people
  • Disqualification
  • Staff taking medication/other substances
  • Staff qualifications, training, support and skills
  • Key person
  • Staff:Child ratios
  • Health:
    • Medicines
    • Food and drink
    • Accident and injury
  • Managing behaviour
  • Safety and suitability of premises, environment and equipment:
    • Safety
    • Smoking
    • Premises
    • Risk assessment
    • Outings
    • Equal opportunities
    • Information and records:
    • Information about the child
    • Information for parents and carers
    • Complaints

EYFS health and safety

EYFS Health and Safety in the Early Years go hand in hand.

Evolution Childcare have a clear EYFS Health and Safety Policy in the Nursery and have a designated key Health and Safety officer who has the overall responsibility to ensure that ALL children, staff, parents and visitors are protected by the effective policies, procedures and practices that we have in place.

As well as the general duties common to all members of staff, the responsible person has responsibility for the day-to-day maintenance and development of safe working practices and conditions for all staff, children, parents, carers, visitors and any other person using the premises or engaged in activities of the provision.

The responsible person will take all reasonably practicable steps to fulfil this responsibility and be required to take all necessary and appropriate action to ensure that the requirements of all relevant legislation, codes of practice and guidelines are met in full at all times. The Health and Safety officer is trained and aware of the basic requirements of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and any other health and safety legislation and codes of practice relevant to the work of the provision.