Seven Areas of Learning and Development
The EYFS is divided into seven areas of Learning and Development.
- Personal, Social & Emotional (PSED)
- Communication and Language (CL)
- Personal Development (PD)
- Literacy (L)
- Mathematics (M)
- Understanding the world (UTW)
- Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)
1) Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) focusses on children’s mental and physical wellbeing. Children work on long-term skills and awarenesses to build a healthy foundation they can take forward. It’s divided into these topics:
- Managing Self
- Building Relationships
Personal, social and emotional development (PSED) provides children with lots of social opportunities. Children can learn to form healthy bonds and make stable, lasting friendships. For example, they’ll learn what the right and wrong things to do are, alongside respect, compassion, morals, and lots more socio-emotional skills.
The subject also opens children up to discuss their thoughts and feelings. This can help them to form a level of ownership, independence, and self-esteem.
2) Communication and Language (C+L) encourages conversations and spoken language skills. Underpinning all skills, it’s foundational for children to be able to interact with their peers and their learning environment. It’s split into the following distinct areas:
- Listening, Attention and Understanding
There’s a lot more to language development and communication than simply ‘talking’. It refers to the variety of ways that children take in information, and communicate information – only a part of this is used with spoken words.
Words and image association is one of the best forms of initiating language and communication development. This is why reading books to young children is a great way of bringing this out, since they’ll be able to make a connection with the pictures in the book, and the text you’re reading out.
3) Physical Development (PD) is vital for healthy lives, as well as affecting other areas of learning. Both gross and fine motor skills are developed over Early Years in activities like writing and cutting. Practitioners plan by looking at these specific areas:
- Gross Motor Skills
- Fine Motor Skills
As children move around, they’re exploring the world around them through handling objects.
Children at Woodlands are exposed to healthy eating and leading an active lifestyle, they’re likely to continue those positive habits as time goes on.
By children having regular physical activity in their lives, it’ll promote healthy development, growth, composition, and cardiovascular fitness. Physical development activities help children to control and manage their body movements and control. It also improves brain development, too, such as critical thinking skills and concentration, since physical fitness ensures heightened brain function.
4) Literacy (L) skills will form a strong foundation for children’s school careers, and are split simply into:
- Word Reading
With literacy, children will begin to build connections between spoken sounds and the letters in writing.
In order to achieve this, they’ll need to start forming levels of experience with letters and words, pictures and objects, and sounds.
Communicating through written language is an essential part for many areas of daily living.
5) Mathematics (M) area of learning focusses on simple concepts that are foundational to higher maths topics in KS1 and up. In EYFS children focus on the maths areas of:
- Numerical Patterns
Learning maths can help with life skills such as spatial awareness, shapes and measurement, and problem-solving.
Maths also serves for other uses like handling and managing money, telling the time, so they’re not late for any commitments they have in place, or working out distance and time together, so that they can travel.
6) Understanding the World (UTW) supports children’s learning about the surrounding environment. In this area of learning, children can explore new cultures and better understand basics that we often take for granted.
- Past and Present
- People, Culture, and Communities
- The Natural World
Children will discover similarities and differences, what world and what doesn’t, what they can and cannot change, and why certain things happen within the world around them. There are lots of opportunities to experiment and investigate.
As well as learning about societies and communities, cultures, people, and places, there are elements of science within this type of learning, too. For example, children will learn about the environment, such as weather conditions, plants, and wildlife.
7) Expressive Arts and Design (EAD) supports children’s creative development and expression. It helps children create their own art works and encourages them to value their own thoughts, opinions and skills. The two areas in this area of learning are:
- Creating with Materials
- Being Imaginative and Expressive
Children will be using a range of materials and activities in order to express themselves through imaginative play. This is as well as to communicate, since verbal communication can be limited at such a young age. These activities include design and technology, dance, movement, music, art, and role-play.
At Woodlands we plan activities to cover these seven Areas of Learning. Throughout the day or session, children will have the opportunity to complete activities that cover many aspects of EYFS Seven the Areas of Learning and Development.
Early years foundation stage – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The EYFS Curriculum aims to provide -
- Quality and consistency in all early years classes
- A secure foundation through learning opportunities tailored to the needs of pupils of this age group
- Partnership working between parents and practitioners
- Equality of opportunity to support children of all backgrounds
EYFS has Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning, which are key characteristics that children develop within their play. These characteristics of effective teaching and learning ensure that children gain the skills which underpin their learning and development across all the prime and specific areas of learning.
Having these required characteristics of teaching and learning in mind helps to support practitioners’ abilities to support ongoing development and underpin their holistic knowledge of the EYFS.
- Playing and exploring shows how the child is engaging as they investigate and experience things first hand.
- Active learning, which shows how a child is motivated to keep on trying when they encounter difficulties or how they enjoy achievements.
- Creating and thinking critically shows the process of thought behind learning, developing their own ideas and creating strategies for carrying these out.
Play in the Early Years Foundation Stage is essential to young children. Through play, children will learn and develop in all seven areas of EYFS. Children will be able to engage creativity and team-building skills with solo and group play, all of which can benefit their Communication and Language development.
By deviating between indoor and outdoor play, it can help children with their learning outcomes on Understanding the World, as well as giving them opportunities to explore new ideas and engage problem-solving skills. Equally, by using play to teach children about a range of events and also the necessity of proper safety precautions, you can relate it to their History and Personal, Social and Emotional Development outcomes.
Adult-led learning forms key elements of the EYFS curriculum, particularly when helping children to develop specific skills. Having an insight and knowledge of the EYFS curriculum helps practitioners differentiate their approach and know when to apply adult-led learning and when children may benefit from a child-led approach. Children, particularly in reception, will also engage with some more ‘formal’ learning techniques.
For example, children will be involved in carpet sessions, often with a specific focus. Sometimes this focus may be around phonics or maths and on other occasions, it may be based around Understanding the World or Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
The following link is to help you as a parent find out more about how your child is learning and developing during their first five years, in relation to the EYFS. Children develop more rapidly during the first five years of their lives than at any other time. This booklet has been written to help you as a parent know what to expect during these vitally important years by focusing on the seven areas of learning and development which are covered in the EYFS.