Early years - encouraging independence

Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. 

Four guiding principles should shape practice in early years' settings. These are: 

  • every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured 
  • children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships 
  • children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents or carers 
  • children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates 

The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework 2017 covers the education and care of all children in early years' provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.