Superseded in September 2008 by the revised Early Years Foundation Stage for 0–5‐year‐olds, the original Foundation Stage of education in England began when children reached the age of 3 and continued until they left their reception class at age 5+. The last year of the Foundation Stage is often described as the reception year, since most children in England are admitted to the reception class of an infant or primary school at some point during that year. Like its successor, the Foundation Stage was a distinct curriculum stage, important in its own right, operating in close partnership with parents and carers, and guided by a set of pedagogic principles appropriate to the age of the children. It prepared children for learning in Key Stage 1 (5–7‐year‐olds) and was consistent with the national curriculum areas of study. Again like its successor, the original Foundation Stage aimed to develop key learning skills such as listening, speaking, concentration, persistence, and learning to work with other children. The QCA's Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage described stepping stones to show the knowledge, skills, understanding, and attitudes that children needed to learn during this period to meet the early learning goals which they should achieve by the end of the Foundation Stage. Documentation supported teachers to plan for and teach an appropriate curriculum for six learning areas: personal and social education; communication, language, and literacy; mathematical development; knowledge and understanding of the world; physical development; and creative development. Teachers monitored and recorded achievement on a child's Foundation Stage profile.
Its replacement, the Early Years Foundation Stage, incorporating the Sure Start Birth to Three Matters guidance, now presents a seamless 0–5 curriculum for young children in England, and continues the Foundation Stage's emphasis on a partnership with parents or carers as children's first and most enduring educators.
QCA Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage (London, May 2000).
http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/primary/faqs/foundation_stage/eyfs Sets out changes to curriculum guidance.