The early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework was introduced in 2008 by the U.K.'s Department for Education,  and provides guidance on how to develop and deliver high-quality early years provision. It sets the standard for what children from birth to age 5 are supposed to learn and achieve during this key stage — ensuring that young children are given a strong start in life.

Teachers and other professionals who work with children in the early years should be familiar with the EYFS framework, which was significantly updated in 2021. It helps them plan their lessons, select appropriate materials and activities, and monitor their pupils’ progress and development.

Practical Resources for Early Years Professionals

To help support all of those working in early years settings, we have carefully curated a list of more than 30 EYFS books and resources written by experienced educators, child psychologists and developmental specialists. We hope they will be a useful addition to your bookshelf and that they will help you deliver the best possible learning experiences for your pupils.

In order to facilitate finding the best resources, we have organised each book by the seven core areas of the EYFS. These are:

1. Communication and Language Development

The main purpose of this area of the EYFS is to focus on how children learn to communicate with each other, use language and understand what is said. It includes pre-literacy skills such as phonological and phonemic awareness. Learn more about how to support communication and language for young children in EYFS, then use research to develop your knowledge so that you can provide a range of experiences that will allow young learners to develop their language skills.

The following resources include information on best practices, how to help teach communication skills and examples of activities that can be used in early years settings:

2. Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Also known as PSED, this area of learning is all about promoting the development and understanding of your pupils. It includes emotional intelligence, self-awareness and social skills. In order to develop these vital competencies, children need opportunities to learn how to be kind, caring, fair and responsible. This can be achieved through playing games that involve sharing, taking turns and cooperating with others.

Use books to enhance your early years curriculum and inspire lessons that focus on PSED. Our list includes books that help you teach the importance of kindness, displaying good manners and accommodating mental health needs. It also includes books that will help you further understand a child's behaviour in their early years so you can encourage them to talk about their feelings and emotions in a safe environment.

3. Physical Development

Physical development is key to a child's healthy growth and development. It covers physical strength, fine motor skills and coordination. The more developed these are, the better children will be able to perform tasks such as running, jumping and balancing. It's also important to remember that children learn during play, so it's important that they’re able to move around and have fun.

Here are some resources that you can access in order to better understand physical development in the early years and incorporate related activities into your own practice:

4. Literacy

Literacy is important for children to develop their communication and language skills. It helps them to understand the world around them, as well as develop their imagination and creativity. Literacy is vital for a child's future success in life, so it's an area that EYFS practitioners must focus on when planning activities for children in their care.

Some EYFS resources to further develop a young learner's writing, language comprehension and reading include:

5. Mathematics

The importance of learning maths in the early years can’t be overstated. Mathematics is a fundamental skill that can be used in almost every aspect of life, and it's an essential component of future success at school and beyond.

EYFS practitioners should focus on the development of numerical skills in children through activities such as counting objects, identifying patterns, following instructions, playing games, reading stories related to maths concepts, or doing arts and crafts projects where they can experiment with shapes and sizes.

6. Understanding the World

Kids are excited by the world around them, and it’s important to nurture this curiosity. They will embark on a learning journey of how things work and how they are connected through simple activities that help develop their understanding of concepts such as cause and effect. The EYFS curriculum includes a number of activities that encourage children to explore outside, from making observations about their environment to drawing pictures or creating models of what they see.

Here is a range of books that can best support you in incorporating learning-based activities into your early years practice to help young learners become more confident and connected to the world around them:

7. Expressive Arts and Design

A child's imagination is a wonderful thing, and it can be a powerful tool for exploring new ideas. The expressive arts play an important role in helping children learn about themselves and their environment, developing positive self-esteem and communication. The expressive arts are also a great way to help children explore their emotions and build resilience by exposing them to new experiences that they may not be familiar with.

The EYFS curriculum focuses on the development of children's creative abilities through drawing, painting, playing instruments and making things with materials such as clay or paper. Here are some books that contain plenty of ideas and help teachers support learners in developing these skills:

Additional Early Years Books from Routledge

Although the following books are not specific to an area of EYFS, they provide a wealth of valuable information for early years practitioners looking to further their knowledge and improve the lives of children. They include books by Anna Ephgrave.