EYFS Themes & Principals

The EYFS says that each theme of the EYFS important and needs to be securely in place before we start to look after children.

Unique Child

Theme 1 says that we must appreciate every child as unique, ensuring we know about child development and inclusive practice and we are committed to keeping children safe and healthy.

Principles – Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.

Practice – Practitioners….

Understand & observe each child’s development & learning, assess progress, plan for next steps

Support babies & children to develop positive sense of their own identity & culture

Identify any need for additional support

Keep children safe

Value & respect all children & families equally

Positive Relationships

Theme 2 talks about positive relationships, telling us to respect everyone (this links to inclusive practice) and helping us to learn how to treat parents as equal partners in their child’s learning and development. We must support children’s learning while acting as each child’s key person.

Principles – Children learn to be strong & independent through positive relationships.

Practice – Positive relationships are…

Warm & Loving & foster a sense of belonging

Sensitive & responsive to the child’s needs, feelings & interests

Supportive of the child’s own efforts & independence

Consistent in setting clear boundaries


Built on key person relationships

Enabling Environments

Theme 3 focuses on the environment, saying that it must be enabling i.e. every child must be able to access our home and play with our resources. While we support each child to achieve (linking again to inclusive practice) we must make sure the learning environment is appropriately set up and we use links with children’s other settings or agencies involved with the child to support them fully.

Principles – children learn & develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs & there is a strong partnership between practitioners & parents.

Practice – Enabling Environments

Value all people

Value learning

They offer….

Stimulating resources, relevant to all the children’s cultures & communities

Rich learning opportunities through play & playful teaching

Support for children to take risks & explore

Learning & Development

Theme 4 Is about the processes children go through to learn and develop and how we can support them by enhancing their play.  The revised EYFS (2012) links the themes from ‘Learning and Development’ to the Characteristics of Effective Learning which focus on HOW children learn.

Principles – Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education & care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs & disabilities.

Practice – Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime & specific areas of learning & development.

They foster the characteristics of effective early learning…

Playing & exploring

Active learning

Creative & thinking critically

There are 7 areas of Learning and Development in the EYFS

The 3 prime areas –

Personal, social and emotional development (PSED)

Physical development (PD)

Communication and language (C & L)

The 4 specific areas –

Literacy (Lit);

Mathematics (maths)

Understanding the world (UW);

Expressive arts and design (A & D)