Birth to 5 Matters guidance is launched

Following six months of consultation and input from across the early years sector, the Early Years Coalition tonight launches Birth to 5 Matters.  The materials include a core document available as a free download, with printed copies available to purchase, and an interactive online version which includes all the text from the core document, plus additional resources, suggestions for further reading, and a bibliography.

“We are delighted to offer this support to the early years sector as they look ahead to implementing the revised EYFS from September,” said Beatrice Merrick, Chair of the Early Years Coalition. “It is a rich resource which will support knowledge of child development and how children learn, and help practitioners make their own professional judgements about meeting the needs of the children they work with.”

Although Birth to 5 Matters builds on previous non-statutory guidance for the EYFS, it has updated all the material to reflect research evidence and meet the needs of practitioners today.  It outlines the foundations of good practice and offers information and guidance for practitioners to consider how the Principles of the EYFS can be brought to life in their setting. New sections on play, characteristics of effective learning, and self-regulation are designed to help practitioners to reflect on and develop their own pedagogy.

“The guidance includes detailed examples of trajectories of development and learning in all the prime and specific areas,” says Nancy Stewart, Project Lead.  “The need for this information to support child development knowledge came through very clearly in our consultations.” 

But she cautions that a new mindset is needed across the sector, to move away from a checklist approach that takes practitioners away from being with children. “If settings have been using previous guidance as a checklist, they should not see Birth to 5 Matters as a replacement to be used in that way,” she says.  “Instead, it is a support for informed professional judgement that will help practitioners move to a new way of understanding and supporting children’s learning, with a minimalist approach to recording assessment.’

The Early Years Coalition is currently planning for training materials and events to introduce practitioners to using Birth to 5 Matters, as well as to support professional development in areas that have been highlighted through the consultations.

The launch at 7pm on Wednesday 31 March will be streamed live on the Birth to 5 Matters facebook page, and a recording of the event will be available after the launch there and on the Birth to 5 Matters website, where the guidance can be accessed directly or downloaded as a PDF.  Printed copies are also available to pre-order.


The non-statutory guidance is produced by the Early Years Coalition, a group of 16 major early years organisations, and aims to support practitioners as they implement the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage. 

The coalition members are

  • British Early Childhood Education Research Association (BECERA)
  • Early Education
  • Early Childhood Forum (ECF)
  • Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN)
  • Early Years Alliance
  • Froebel Trust
  • Keeping Early Years Unique (KEYU)
  • LGBTQIA Early Years
  • Montessori St Nicholas
  • National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)
  • National Education Union (NEU)
  • Sector Endorsed Foundation Degrees in the Early Years (SEFDEY)
  • Sightlines Initiative
  • Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship
  • TACTYC: the Association for Professional Development in the Early Years

The initiative has funding from the coalition partners and from Cosy Fund.

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