Areas of Learning

The 7 areas of learning and development is the way the EYFS is planned and covered so that children's holistic development is covered whilst they are in school, at nursery or with a childminder. They are Communication and Language Development (CL or CLD); Expressive Arts and Design (EAD); Literacy Development (L or LD); Mathematics (M); Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED); Physical Development (PD); Understanding the World (UW).

Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL)

These are statutory and are the qualities that children need to have and should be encouraged in Early Years settings so that children have the motivation and inquisitive disposition to access learning opportunities. There are three CoEL: PLAYING AND EXPLORING, ACTIVE LEARNING, CREATING AND THINKING CRITICALLY.

Early Learning Goals (ELGs)

There are Early learning Goals accross the 7 areas of learning in the EYFS. In the summer term of a child's reception year, the EYFS teacher will decide whether they are meeting the ELGs (this is described as expected) or whether they are 'emerging' in those areas or 'exceeding'.


The Early Years Foundation Stage is the statutory curriculum for children accessing childcare and school in England from 0 - 5 years old.

Good Level of Development (GLD)

When a Reception teacher makes a judgement, in the summer term, about whether a child has reached the expected standard by achieving the Early Learning Goals, they then look at 5 areas in particular. These are the prime areas of personal, social and emotional development; physical development; and communication and language and the specific areas of mathematics and literacy. If children have achieved the expected ELGs in these 5 areas, they are assessed as having a 'Good Level of Development'. Schools use this information to teach children as they move on to the National Curriculum in Year 1.

Key Person

The Early Years, from 0-5, are crucial times for a child's emotional developmentand the EYFS promotes a small group of children having a 'key person' who will provide a caring and secure relationship in their setting, taking note of the child's individual needs and being a key point of contact for parents and carers.

Prime Areas of Learning

There are 3 prime areas of learning which are Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language. These are considered essential areas for children to develop in order to access and achieve in the other areas, which are described as the 'specific areas'.


An EYFS setting is a place where children, between the ages of 0 and 5, are cared for and learn. This could be a childminder, a nursery, a playgroup, a preschool or a school's nursery and reception class. Sometimes, in a school this may be called the Foundation Stage. 

Specific Areas of Learning

The specific areas of learning are Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World, and Expressive Arts and Design.