The importance of computing in EYFS

By Katie Joyce posted 22-01-2024 09:44


Since the technology strand was removed from the Understanding the World area of learning, there has been lots of discussion around the place of computing in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). However, computing and technology are still vitally important in EYFS. Computing in EYFS ensures that pupils enter Year 1 with a strong foundation, builds problem-solving abilities, encourages resilience and supports other areas of learning. By integrating computing into EYFS, pupils also begin to build their digital literacy and their understanding of e-safety.  

Let’s dig a little deeper into some of these benefits: 

1. Building a strong foundation 

Computing in EYFS doesn’t have to mean creating a PowerPoint, or writing a Word document! It can be unplugged activities which don’t use a computer. It can also be activities which familiarise pupils with technology they may use more formally in KS1. For example, computing in EYFS may look like taking photos with a tablet, tinkering with a Bee-bot, doodling on an iPad or including an old keyboard in the role play area. 

2. Building problem solving skills 

Computing activities, especially those involving computational thinking, build problem solving skills. Pupils learn to break problems down into smaller pieces and focus on the important facts. They take big problems and turn them into smaller ones which can be solved. These problem-solving skills support pupils across the domains of the EYFS framework. 

3. Encouraging resilience 

Computing tasks often require persistence to find a solution. There can be an element of trial and error, or tasks can need debugging. This process helps children develop their resilience as they learn to keep trying until they find a solution.  

 4. Supporting other areas of learning 

Technology can give a helping hand to other areas of learning. Using a drawing app like Doodle Buddy the Notes app on iPads can help develop fine motor skills, while educational games can reinforce numeracy and literacy skills. Computing activities often require children to follow instructions and explain their thinking, which is great for building communication skills. Plus, computational thinking activities also include pattern spotting and logical thinking, which are important mathematical skills. 

5. Developing digital literacy 

In this technological age, digital literacy is becoming an absolutely fundamental skill for all. Introducing computing in EYFS helps children get to grips with technology from a young age, preparing them for a world where digital skills are essential. Plus, it’s a great way to teach early e-safety, ensuring pupils can use tech safely both in and out of school. 

In conclusion, while the EYFS framework may no longer explicitly include technology, it remains a vital tool for delivering a well-rounded education. By integrating computing into early years education, we can equip our children with the skills they need to navigate the digital world confidently and safely.  

To find out more, join us on ‘Developing Computing in EYFS’. This course is packed with insights and practical ideas to effectively weave computing through your EYFS curriculum, and to use technology purposefully to support learning in EYFS.

Check out our full range of primary digital skills courses here.

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24-02-2024 17:09

I am the computing lead at my school and I teach Year 1.

I have been advising my Early Years team about the importance of teaching computing to Reception. It's a real struggle for Year 1's in their first term. They have finally agreed so I find myself having to set up a whole scheme as we don't buy into ready made schemes. I have had a look at Barefoot computing. I also enrolled in Kapow's under their free 1 week trial to compare.

Your post just proves how important it is to teach computing early. Thank you.

08-02-2024 18:09

Great post, I have used some Barefoot resources in EYFS.

08-02-2024 12:01

Thank you for this important post. I teach Robotics 3D printing and coding in KS2 and I find that children are not ready even with simple mouse skills and typing which inhibits their ability to interact with the technology. Some drop out of the workshops and clubs early because they struggle to persevere even with support. Skills taught in early years would avoid this. 

26-01-2024 08:06

Great post. Barefoot have free resources for developing computational thinking at EYFS, with a new resource coming very soon!

24-01-2024 08:36

Couldn't agree more with this blog. I've been suggesting an EYFS course for a number of years, so I'm really pleased to see it's now happening.

Thank you!

23-01-2024 10:19

This is such an important discussion.

So much of what you have highlighted is happening incidentally, but the capture and sharing (or linking) of these moments between EYFS and wider school often doesn't happen.

Could we as a community help to map the foundational elements that feed into the KS1 curriculum? As a school leader I was asked to plan for the layer below the Y1 NCCE curriculum map, (a perceived 'gap' in the curriculum offer) and it was easy to align these with activities already taking place in Reception, but they were not seen as 'computing', perhaps because of wider societal attitudes to what is and isn't 'computing', and some curriculum blindness.

We used things rooted in concrete activities to promote discussion. e.g.

  • How is sorting 'same and different' important to future success in computing?
  • Why is making a repeating pattern of colours important? 
  • What is gained by matching someone else's Duplo block structure?
  • What difference does it make to show and discuss with pupils how we use Tapestry to record their learning and share with parents?

There are hundreds of examples that don't need extra work, just extra awareness I guess! Staff can see the Maths links, but perhaps not the computing ones...

23-01-2024 09:03

Thank you so much for this, Katie, well said and succinctly put. I couldn't agree more! I wrote a slightly longer post 'Let's talk about technology in EYFS' on the CAS site here and concluded:

"We need the next generation to be able to use technology creatively and imaginatively to solve problems that we haven’t even envisaged yet. We need them to be able to enter into complex ethical and moral debates about our use of technology. We need them to be able to articulate and communicate their ideas to diverse audiences. We need them to believe and understand that they have the power to change the world. These strong beliefs and motivations need to be nurtured and embedded at the earliest possible opportunity - which I would suggest begins at birth."

Pleased STEM have Helen running an EYFS course too. Just sad I can't make either of the dates!