FREE 30-day trial and added value package, supporting your transition to digital

Click here

Birth to 5 Matters: What does it mean for you?

date March 25, 2021Dr Sharon Colilles

The background

Birth to 5 Matters is new guidance published at the end of March 2021. It builds on the strong foundations of the previous guidance, Development Matters (2012), and has been developed by the Early Years Coalition.

In this coalition, 16 major early years organisations have come together to create this resource that not only pools the members’ considerable expertise, but also reflects their organisational values, principles, and aspirations for supporting professionals developing their practice with babies, toddlers, and young children.

The purpose of Birth to 5 Matters is to support the implementation of the revised Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework in a pedagogically sound, principled and research-based way. The revised EYFS will be statutory to all early years settings in England from September 2021.

Oh – and don’t miss the recording of the Kinderly webinar on this topic with Project Lead, Nancy Stewart – all you need to do is to become a Kinderly Learn member to access all of our EYFS-related webinars.

The rationale

The rationale for developing Birth to 5 Matters was born out of the key messages received from two research-based enquiries:

  1. Getting it right in the Early Years Foundation Stage which involved a review of research literature from 2009 to 2019
  2. Mapping the Landscape that sought the perspectives of practitioners including their views about Development Matters 2012.

By giving a ‘voice’ to practitioners’ views, over 3000 positive responses were received from the survey. The sector wanted to see the guidance contain:

  • Scaffolding for new and inexperienced practitioners.
  • Explanations on the how and why of early development.
  • Developmentally appropriate guidance to support children’s learning toward the Early Learning Goals.
  • Greater emphasis on the characteristics of effective teaching and learning as central to the EYFS.
  • More emphasis on Personal Social and Emotional Development (PSED).
  • A balanced teaching approach, with play-based and relational pedagogic approaches, alongside more structured learning and teaching.

How does the guidance work with the EYFS statutory framework?

Every aspect of the learning and development requirements in the statutory EYFS framework is reflected in Birth to 5 Matters, so practitioners can be confident that if they use Birth to 5 Matters as a guide, then they will find support to fully implement the EYFS.

Birth to 5 Matters will also support practitioners in their statutory responsibilities within the EYFS to help children make progress in the seven areas of learning and development in line with the Educational Programmes.

In some cases, the organisation of strands does not match the structure of the strands listed in the EYFS 2021 Early Learning Goals (ELGs), because a more logical arrangement aligning with child development knowledge has been used. How to organise the strands in your curriculum is not a requirement. The ELGS are an assessment for the end of the reception year only, and the EYFS states clearly that they should not be used as a curriculum.

woman observing children

Why should you use this document in your setting?

If you work directly with children and families in England, you may decide this guidance is for you because it:

  • is a highly researched piece of work, where specialists in the field have worked together to inform practitioner knowledge and inspire practice
  • has been written with the sector in mind
  • provides rich guidance for practitioners with clear links to theory and research evidence
  • values the whole sector; all early years’ professionals have been welcomed to shape this guidance.

Significant thought and care have gone into the production of both the core and online versions of the Birth to 5 Matters document. It has been written by the sector for the sector and will be the most incredible supportive resource for all settings. Designed to facilitate early childhood learning and development, it will make an important difference to provision for children and families in the 21st century.

About the author

Dr Sharon Colilles is Project Assistant for Birth to 5 Matters at Early Education. She completed her PhD at the Centre for Research in Early Childhood and previously worked as a lecturer in early years education at Leeds Beckett University.


kinderly learn promo ad