Developmental matters : Understanding the EYFS

2nd November 2015

The developmental matters document within the EYFS is the practice guidance that underpins the four themes, which are, a unique child, positive relationships, enabling environments, and areas of learning and development. The document explains the principles behind the themes involved and shows practitioners how they might put these into everyday practice.

‘”Development Matters is used by early years settings throughout the EYFS as a guide to making best-fit judgements about whether a child is showing typical development for their age, maybe at risk of delay or is ahead for their age. Summative assessment supports information sharing with parents, colleagues and other settings’’.

Practitioners assess the children in their care through careful observations, each week in order to see how they play and interact in all situations. It’s very helpful for parents to liaise with staff so we can judge what your children can or can’t do in their home environments too. These observations can then help to assess your child and provide a sound base for the planning involved in developing your child’s next steps and future ongoing development.

The EYFS has three prime areas that are crucial to development in the first five years, these are –

  • Personal, social and emotional (making relationships, self confidence and self awareness, managing feelings and behaviour)
  • Communication and language (Listening and attention, understanding, speaking)
  • Physical development (Moving and handling, health and self care)

These areas are what practitioners really focus on developmentally in the first 2 years (although of course, continue to develop thereafter).

There are also the specific areas that occur more frequently and consistently during years 3-5, these are –

  • Literacy (reading, writing)
  • Mathematics (Numbers, Shape, space and measure)
  • Understanding the world (People and communities, The world, technology)
  • Expressive arts and design (Exploring and using media and materials, being imaginative)

Although these areas develop more in the later stages of the EYFS this doesn’t mean that the children under two do not get to experience these kinds of activities and they are still assessed on them when appropriate.

The majority of the developmental matters guidance details each area of learning and shows practitioners what the children should typically, be achieving in each age bracket (and how to help achieve this). Throughout the EYFS it stresses that all children learn at different rates and in their own way so should by no means be judged by others or against others.

view the developmental matters document here – developmental matters

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