UK EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage): Physical Development

We’ve read through the compliance information for UK EYFS services and have used this information to provide practical steps you can take to running an excellent service. We also provide an example weekly schedule for improvement and reflective questions to guide ongoing improvements.

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Practical Steps Towards An Excellent EYFS

Providing an excellent service for 3-5 year old EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) children in the UK requires a comprehensive approach that addresses their developmental, educational, emotional, and physical needs.

Here’s a comprehensive list of practical steps you can take:

Physical development is a crucial aspect of early childhood education, especially for 3-5 year olds. It encompasses both the growth of the body and the development of motor skills, including both fine and gross motor skills. Here’s an expanded overview of the practical steps to promote physical development in EYFS children:

5. Physical Development:

  1. Daily Physical Activities:
    • Structured Play: Organize games like “Simon Says”, obstacle courses, or relay races that encourage movement and coordination.
    • Free Play: Allow children time for unstructured play where they can explore movement on their own, such as running, jumping, or climbing.
    • Dance and Movement: Incorporate music and dance sessions to help children express themselves and develop rhythm.
  2. Healthy Meals and Snacks:
    • Balanced Diet: Ensure meals are balanced with the right proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
    • Hydration: Encourage children to drink water regularly throughout the day.
    • Dietary Restrictions: Be aware of and cater to any dietary restrictions or allergies the children might have.
  3. Rest and Sleep:
    • Designated Nap Times: Schedule a regular nap time to ensure children get the rest they need for their growing bodies.
    • Quiet Zones: Create quiet zones or corners where children can relax or read, promoting calmness and relaxation.
    • Educate on Importance: Teach children about the importance of rest and how it helps their bodies grow.
  4. Fine Motor Skill Development:
    • Craft Activities: Organize activities like drawing, coloring, cutting, or bead threading to enhance hand-eye coordination.
    • Manipulative Toys: Provide toys like puzzles, building blocks, and playdough that encourage finger dexterity.
    • Practical Life Skills: Encourage activities like buttoning, tying shoelaces, or using utensils to eat.
  5. Gross Motor Skill Development:
    • Outdoor Play: Utilize outdoor play areas for activities like hopping, skipping, ball games, and cycling.
    • Balance and Coordination: Introduce equipment like balance beams, trampolines, or hopscotch grids.
    • Strength Building: Incorporate climbing frames, monkey bars, or tug-of-war games to build muscle strength.
  6. Safety in Physical Activities:
    • Supervision: Ensure children are always supervised during physical activities to prevent accidents.
    • Safe Equipment: Regularly inspect play equipment for any damages or potential hazards.
    • Safety Lessons: Teach children basic safety rules, like not pushing others or using equipment properly.
  7. Promotion of Healthy Habits:
    • Hygiene: Teach children the importance of washing hands, especially before meals or after using the restroom.
    • Posture: Educate children on maintaining good posture, especially during activities like sitting or walking.
    • Routine Physical Check-ups: Regularly monitor children’s growth and health, ensuring they are on the right track developmentally.

By focusing on these areas and ensuring a balanced approach to physical activities, nutrition, rest, and safety, you can effectively promote the physical development of EYFS children.

An Example Monthly Schedule

Ready to implement these practical steps in your service? Using the constraints of 4 hours per week to work on improvements, we’ve created an example schedule below.

Given that the educator has a limited time of 4 hours per week, it’s essential to prioritize tasks and spread them out over a month to ensure a systematic approach to improving physical development for EYFS children. Here’s an example monthly schedule:

Week 1: Assessment and Planning

  • Hour 1: Conduct a thorough assessment of the current physical development activities and resources available.
  • Hour 2: Identify gaps or areas of improvement based on the assessment.
  • Hour 3: Research new activities or resources that can be introduced to address the identified gaps.
  • Hour 4: Draft a plan for the month, detailing the changes and additions to be made.

Week 2: Fine Motor Skill Development

  • Hour 1: Organize a new craft activity that focuses on hand-eye coordination (e.g., bead threading or origami).
  • Hour 2: Introduce manipulative toys like puzzles or building blocks and observe children’s interactions with them.
  • Hour 3: Conduct a mini-workshop for children on practical life skills, such as buttoning or using utensils.
  • Hour 4: Reflect on the activities’ effectiveness and gather feedback from children.

Week 3: Gross Motor Skill Development

  • Hour 1: Set up an outdoor play session focusing on a new activity, like hopscotch or a simple relay race.
  • Hour 2: Introduce a balance and coordination activity, such as using a balance beam or playing catch.
  • Hour 3: Organize a strength-building activity, like a tug-of-war game or climbing session.
  • Hour 4: Evaluate the children’s response to the new activities and note any improvements or challenges.

Week 4: Safety, Health, and Review

  • Hour 1: Conduct a safety check of all physical activity equipment and play areas.
  • Hour 2: Organize a session teaching children about hygiene and healthy habits, like hand washing or proper posture.
  • Hour 3: Review the changes made over the month and assess their impact on the children’s physical development.
  • Hour 4: Plan for the next month, considering the successes and challenges of the current month.

This schedule provides a structured approach, allowing the educator to focus on different aspects of physical development each week. It also ensures that there’s time for reflection and planning, which is crucial for continuous improvement.

Reflective Questions

Reflective questions are essential for educators to evaluate the effectiveness of their practices and to identify areas for improvement. Here’s an exhaustive list of reflective questions specifically tailored for Physical Development in EYFS children:

Assessment and Planning:

  1. What were my initial goals for physical development this month/term?
  2. How well did I prepare and plan for each physical activity?
  3. Were there any resources or equipment I felt were lacking or could be improved upon?

Fine Motor Skill Development:

  1. Which fine motor activities were most engaging for the children?
  2. Did I notice any improvement in the children’s hand-eye coordination?
  3. Were there children who struggled more than others with fine motor tasks? Why might that be?
  4. How can I modify or introduce new activities to better cater to all skill levels?

Gross Motor Skill Development:

  1. Which gross motor activities seemed to be the most beneficial for the children?
  2. Did all children participate actively in outdoor play and physical activities?
  3. Were there any challenges or safety concerns during these activities?
  4. How can I ensure that all children are equally involved and challenged in gross motor activities?

Safety and Health:

  1. Were there any incidents or near-misses during physical activities? If so, what can be learned from them?
  2. How effective was my instruction on safety rules and guidelines to the children?
  3. Did I ensure that all equipment was safe and appropriate for the children’s age and skill level?
  4. How can I better promote healthy habits, such as proper hygiene, among the children?

Feedback and Observation:

  1. What feedback did I receive from the children about the physical activities?
  2. Were there any observable improvements in the children’s physical skills over the period?
  3. How did the children’s energy levels and enthusiasm vary across different activities?
  4. Were there any unexpected outcomes or reactions from the children during any of the activities?

Personal Growth and Development:

  1. What did I learn about my teaching style and approach during this period?
  2. Were there moments I felt unprepared or uncertain? How can I address this in the future?
  3. How can I further educate myself to better support the physical development of EYFS children?
  4. Were there any external factors (e.g., weather, resources, time constraints) that affected my teaching, and how can I better adapt to these in the future?

Future Planning:

  1. Based on my reflections, what are my goals for the next month/term regarding physical development?
  2. Are there specific children who need more individualized attention or support in their physical development?
  3. How can I better collaborate with parents or caregivers to support the children’s physical development at home?
  4. Are there any new resources, training, or equipment I should consider investing in for the future?

Using these reflective questions, educators can gain a deeper understanding of their practices, the children’s needs, and the overall effectiveness of their approach to physical development.



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