This paper focuses on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which sets standards for children’s care, development and education in England from birth to five years old. Analysing the EYFS, as comprised of knowledge and discourses that inform, and are informed by broader cultural understandings of childhood and development, we argue that the way in which the current EYFS (2017) frames young children’s behaviour promotes largely instrumental strategies for behaviour management which perpetuate overly static understandings of childhood and children’s development and promote neo-liberal ideals that might be said to be detrimental to children’s rights and their overall well-being. Importantly, we argue that the EYFS imposes discourses about responsibility for managing one’s own behaviour on young children which simultaneously overlook the multidimensionality of children’s lives and contradict other aspects of the EYFS and English early years policy. The paper makes suggestions about how the EYFS can be reimagined ‘otherwise’ using the lens of governmentality, exposing power relations and the production of taken-for-granted ‘truths’ about children’s realities that appear in contemporary policies.
- Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
- Early Years Education
- Behaviour Management