The Foundation Stage Forum (FSF) was originally set up in 2003, so before the EYFS was a twinkle in anyone’s eye. This explains why we’re not called the EYFSF. We thought about changing our name with the advent of the EYFS, but on reflection thought that a) the FSF was still a nice neat way to refer to ourselves, and so many members had got used to thinking about us with those three little letters that we might as well leave it that way.
So the FSF we remain - on badges, mugs and on our logo - with the compromise of ‘early years’ written in small friendly letters above.
The forum began with an amalgam of web developers and a small team of practitioners involved heavily with early years foundation stage and early years education. The technical requirements of the website have grown and the content has expanded, but we still remain a small (albeit older and slightly greyer) long- serving team at heart.
Joined early on by an enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer team of moderators, over the years we have watched the membership grow dramatically, into an amazing, vibrant community and support network of professionals dedicated to the early years.
They lend their advice and experience to the community, extend their empathy to each other, and indulge their passion for the care and education of young children with each other. If the founders were ever able to say that they were the main cause of the liveliness of this community, it has been some time since they could make that claim!
Our belief is that the world of early years education badly needs this online gathering place, where it is possible to find not only information and news relevant to the profession, but where experiences can be shared, frustrations voiced and questions asked. Being able to do this, without fear of being attacked or mocked, in an environment where the ethos is one of mutual respect and courtesy, has helped many thousands of providers and teachers, and we hope will continue to do so for many years to come.
When it comes down to it, the FSF is basically all Steve’s fault - if you need someone to shout at at any time, he’s almost certainly the one to look for. After working with Ericsson for many years while watching his wife Helen (see below) set up a nursery, he decided he wanted some fun as well.
Having heard about how hard it was to make contact with other early years managers and staff, for support, advice, or just to exchange ideas, he came up with the idea of an online community for early years providers - or, as he put it at the time, a way of ‘joining the dots’.
The FSF became successful very quickly, being joined by hundreds (and then thousands) of enthusiastic ‘dots’, of which he is, of course, one. Fourteen years down the line, here he still is. Older, slightly more battered, but very happy to be a part of the FSF community.
Helen began life as, well, as a baby. But after she’d grown up (we’re whizzing through what would otherwise be a fairly involved biography) and had a couple of degrees to her name, she trained as a teacher and was a primary school teacher for some years. After the birth of her second child she opened her own nursery, which she managed for ten happy years. She was amongst the first to achieve Early years Professional Status (EYPS), and mentored students on early years courses at Brighton University. She has also been an early years Ofsted inspector.