Tracking Development In The EYFS

April 15, 2019 1:40 pm
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4.Parent engagement

In a busy early years setting it is often challenging to find time to build up effective partnerships with parents – but evidence tells us that it is crucial for children’s well-being, learning and development.

Parents are children’s first and most permanent educators. It has been found that when parents and practitioners work together in early years settings the results have a positive impact on children’s development and learning.

It is essential that any system for helping practitioners get to know and understand children includes and values contributions from parents and carers.

Effective parent partnership practice includes:

  • Effective methods for including and welcoming all parents from all backgrounds. This includes parents who may speak more than one language at home, parents with busy working schedules and/or unsociable hours, same-sex parents, traveller parents, and single parents
  • Time for the key person to talk to parents before a child joins a setting
  • Regular opportunities for both of the above

Parent guides are a really handy tool to help parent’s understand different parts of their child’s time in the EYFS as there is not always ample time for parent/practitioner interaction.

Parent input checklist

Parents can help promote their child’s development and track their progress at home in the seven areas of the EYFS through:

Communication and language

  • Speak to your child regularly about everyday activities like getting dressed, eating and washing, what they’ve done at nursery or school, and develop on what they say.
  • Read with your child daily and teach them rhymes or word games.

Physical development

  • If you can, give your child space to use large muscles through activities such as climbing, playing on a swing, or running around. Take them to a park if you don’t have the space at home.
  • Go on family walks, talking about what you see. This will help to develop their communication and language skills too.

Personal, social and emotional development

  • Help your child develop empathy by listening to what they have to say and encouraging them to listen to others before speaking.
  • Encourage your child’s natural curiosity by engaging in the community and giving them new experiences. This may be going to village fetes, charity days, or parent toddler clubs, or even going to the village shop and speaking to the shop owner/cashier.
  • Try and arrange play dates with other children to encourage them to develop their social skills.
  • Show affection and love towards your child and try to teach them to show it back.
  • Encourage your child to have self-belief in whatever they are doing. For example, praise them when they use the potty/toilet successfully, when they tidy up their toys, when they draw a picture, or when they get dressed/ brush their teeth on their own.

Expressive arts and design

  • Encourage your child to express themselves and be creative. You can do this by, for example, providing a range of craft activities or any play equipment and allowing your child to create their own masterpiece.
  • Allow your child to choose the type of music they like listening to and even their own clothes if you’re brave! It’s about giving them the tools to express who they are as an individual.


  • Talk about maths in a positive way and try to use the real world. Use numbers as much as you can with your child. For example, count items when you are shopping in the supermarket, or count plates and cutlery when setting the table with them.
  • Ask your child questions when you’re outside such as ‘how many birds can you see?’
  • Help your child to tell the time by using rhymes and counting down the minutes to nursery or bath time.


  • Provide an inviting space to read and write if possible – a comfy corner with pencils and paper and books – and encourage them to choose what they read and write.
  • Read and draw together if they need a little extra encouragement.
  • Tell a story and encourage them to tell their own imaginary stories too; use toys as characters to make it more engaging and fun!

Understanding the world

  • Help your child to understand the different kinds of people there are in their community by, for example, taking them to multicultural events and festivals. Take them into different ethnic food shops and talk about what kind of food there is on the shelf.
  • Help teach your child about the circle of life by, for example, taking them to the zoo or a farm to see the baby and adult animals, and talking about where they have come from. Alternatively, you could set up a bird feeder in your garden and watch for birds, talking about what they eat and where they live.
  • Teach your child about technology by using a computer or child friendly tablet with them. Get them to speak to people on the phone such as their family.

5. Important guidance for practitioners and all staff to read/be aware of

  • Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (Early Education May 2012)
  • Early Years Outcomes (DfE 2014)
  • The Common Inspection Framework: education, skills and early years (Ofsted September 2015)
  • Early Years Inspection Handbook (Ofsted April 2018)
  • Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE April 2017)
  • A Know How Guide The EYFS progress check at age two (DfE May 2012)



CDC – Celebrating Milestones and Sharing Concerns

Foundation Years – Progress Matters 

Oxfordshire Council – Managing Assessment Information in the EYFS


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