The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum is the framework for children's learning from birth to five years in all pre-school settings that receive funding from the government. This includes state and most private nurseries, some playgroups and registered childminding settings. There are some private providers who are not eligible for funding from the government because they choose to follow a different curriculum.

Will my child who stammers be helped by this new curriculum?

Parents may be worried that there will be too many targets for their child and that this will put him under pressure. In a pre-school setting where staff are well qualified this should not happen and your child should enjoy learning through play activities that will help him to meet the targets. As one of the curriculum goals is to develop your child's communication skills, staff will have to observe these and respond to any problems. This means that staff should be better able to identify any problems with your child's speech and offer him support.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum should help your child as it ensures that staff will observe your child's speech and offer support for any difficulties.

Child language development and the curriculum: An overview DFE EYFS

Young child

Birth to three years

  • Birth – 11 months: Children are learning from the moment of birth. Even before their first words they find out a lot about language by hearing people talking and are especially interested when it involves them and their daily lives.
  • 8 – 20 months: Building on their communication skills, children now begin to develop a sense of self and are more able to express their needs and feelings. Alongside non-verbal communication children learn a few simple words for everyday things and people. With encouragement and plenty of interaction with carers, children's communication skills grow and their vocabulary expands very rapidly during this period.
  • 16 – 26 months: Pretend play helps children to learn about a range of possibilities. Adults are an important source of security and comfort.
  • 22 – 36 months: In this phase, children's language is developing rapidly and many are beginning to put sentences together. Joining in conversations with children is an important way for children to learn new things and to begin to think about past, present and future.

Although this may look complicated, it is simply a means of allowing practitioners to record children's progress and identify any difficulties at an early stage.

Three to five years

It is during the years from three to five that the curriculum targets are more clearly assessed and detailed reports on the child's 'stepping stones' of achievement provided to parents. The last year of the Foundation Stage is often called the Reception Year, as many children join a school Reception class during that time, but you can choose to have your child stay in the setting he entered when he was three, such as private day nurseries, play groups, and childminder provision. At the end of the Reception Year parents receive their child's Early Years Profile based on the progress of the previous twelve months.


Click on the following links to open a PDF, use the back button on your browser to return to this resource. To save the handout to your computer, right click and choose 'Save as'.

Text for this page: The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
Text for this whole section: What is taught in a pre-school setting