EYFS 2021

Making the EYFS 2021 work for you!

EYFS Statutory Framework

The revised framework for the EYFS 2021 is loaded with opportunities, it provides the scope for you to redesign your curriculum, enhance your practice and (hopefully!) reduce workload. However, understandably in these uncertain times, it has left many practitioners (teachers, nursery staff and those in the private sector) worried and feeling overwhelmed.

I hope this post can help in how I am approaching the new curriculum and point you in the direction in some of my resources which will help you on your own journey!

Which document?

The first issue that seems to have everyone spinning is which document do I use?

The point to remember is that only the ELGs (Early Learning Goals) at the end of the Reception Year are statutory, how you choose to ensure children make good progress towards these areas and achieve a Good Level of Development is up to you… So the simple answer is… it’s totally up to you! You are the expert in your classroom or setting, you know your children, your cohorts, your families, your working style and your staff. Use the non statutory document that suits you best. I have read both indepth and feel that there are pros and cons to both, however I am sticking with Development Matters 2021. I feel this document fits my setting best. I am a teacher of a mixed age class and know that I will want a curriculum that enables me to merge the differing needs effectively and I believe DM will allow me to do that.

Creating a curriculum

There is much buzz around creating a new curriculum… many of you are super excited (like me!) to be able to revamp, rejig and reclaim the curriculum offer, but lots of you are worried, particularly from a workload perspective! I get it- it seems like we have two pieces of non statutory guidance a new statutory framework and ELGs and not a lot else! It can be daunting.

Bear in mind that your curriculum isn’t just down to the planning out of what learning takes place, it is everything you do in your setting, including visits, outdoor learning, subject specialists (music, physical development, artists), pedagogy, etc. The planning for learning aspect of this is just a small part of a much wider picture and most of it isn’t going to change. You are still going to be embracing outdoor learning, encouraging specialist teaching, developing a sound pedagogy, following the children’s interests and valuing children’s play, but some of how you interact, record, plan and teach may alter to meet the new requirements. What I am trying to say is DO NOT PANIC!

Planning for Progression in the EYFS 2021

For the new EYFS 2021, there has been lots of talk surrounding the use of progression grids, some settings have broken down every key skill and created progression maps which show all the smaller steps to get there (hats off, I looked at doing that and the time and work involved is phenomenal!), others have opted to not have any progression grids at all.

I decided to look at each of the ELGs individually and decide what key skills were needed for each. Initially I undertook the process for Reception but also then looked at what the key skills to achieve GLD were for nursery too (3 & 4 year olds).

ELG Mind Maps
Nursery Learning Goal Mind Maps

It was from here I knew I needed more for my own teaching and to support the other staff I worked with and I set about creating progression grids for each of the ELGs. These are available for both nursery (3 & 4 year olds) and Reception and marry up the steps in learning to achieve the ELG, providing progressive building blocks for learning. I opted to also show how these steps linked with the Year 1 National Curriculum and provide basic provision ideas to support.

ELG Progression documents for EYFS 2021


ELG Progression documents for EYFS 2021

Nursery/ Preschool (3 & 4 year olds)

I used these grids to help me map out my learning over the course of a year. I know many of you no longer use long term plans, but in my school (and I’m sure many of yours), this is still an expectation to align with the rest of the classes. It also enables me to know that I am getting good coverage.

This year, we opted to use over arching questions for our topics, allowing them to take numerous directions, be child led and linked to interests but also support us to ensure we were providing a good breadth of knowledge, skills and experiences. Linking to a range of quality texts has been key and I plan to continue with this approach next year. Despite the weirdness of this year, it has worked well! (A version of an editable, age appropriate long term plan is available in each of the packages above)

I hope this is useful to you… I am going to continue to update you on my journey with the EYFS 2021. Any questions or thoughts please get in touch via my Facebook page, Instagram or the contact form… https://isittimetoplay.co.uk/contact/(opens in a new tab)

Good Luck! Don’t Panic!