Early Learning Goals in Depth

Communication, Language and Literacy.


  • Interact with others, negotiating plans and activities and taking turns in conversation.

  • Enjoy listening to and using spoken and written language, and readily turn it in their play and learning.

  • Sustain attentive listening, responding to what they have heard by relevant comments, questions or actions.

  • Listen with enjoyment and respond to stories, songs and other music, rhymes and poems and make up their own stories, songs, rhymes and poems.

  • Extend their vocabulary, exploring the meanings and sounds of new words.

  • Speak clearly and audibly with confidence and control and show awareness of the listener, for example by their use of conventions such as greetings, 'please' and 'thank you'.

  • Use language to imagine and recreate roles and experiences.

  • Use talk to organise, sequence and clarify thinking, ideas, feelings and events

  • Hear and say initial and final sounds in words, and short vowel sounds within words.

  • Link sounds to letters, naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet.

  • Use their phonic knowledge to write simple regular words and make phonetically plausible attempts at more complex words.

  • Explore and experiment with sounds, words and texts.

  • Retell narratives in the correct sequence, drawing on language patterns of stories.

  • Read a range of familiar and common words and simple sentences independently.

  • Know that print carries meaning and, in English, is read from left to right and top to bottom.

  • Show an understanding of the elements of stories, such as main character, sequence of events, and openings, and how information can be found in non-fiction texts to answer questions about where, who, why and how.

  • Attempt writing for various purposes, using features of different forms such as  lists, stories and instructions.

  • Write their own names and other things such as labels and captions and begin to form simple sentences, sometimes using punctuation.

  • Use a pencil and hold it effectively to form recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World


  • Investigate objects and materials by using all of their senses as appropriate.

  • Find out about, and identify, some features of living things, objects and events they observe.

  • Look closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.

  • Ask questions about why things happen and how things work.

  • Build and construct with a wide range of objects, selecting appropriate resources and adapting their work where necessary.

  • Select the tools and techniques they need to shape, assemble   and join materials they are using.

  • Find out about and identify the uses of everyday technology and use information and communication technology and   programmable toys to support their learning.

  • Find out about past and present events in their own lives, and in those of their families and other people they know.

  • Observe, find out about and identify features in the place they live and the natural world.

  • Find out about their environment, and talk about those features they like and dislike.

  • Begin to know about their own cultures and beliefs and those of other people.

Personal Social & Emotional Development


  • Continue to be interested, excited and motivated to learn.

  • Be confident to try new activities, initiate ideas and speak in a familiar group.

  • Maintain attention, concentrate, and sit quietly when appropriate.

  • Respond to significant experiences, showing a range of feelings when appropriate.

  • Have a developing awareness of their own needs, views and feelings, and be sensitive to the needs, views and feelings of others.

  • Have a developing respect for their own cultures and beliefs and those of other people.

  • Form good relationships with adults and peers.

  • Work as part of a group or class, taking turns and sharing fairly, understanding that there needs to be agreed values and codes of behaviour for groups of people, including adults and children, to work together harmoniously.

  • Understand what is right, what is wrong and why.

  • Consider the consequences of their words and actions for themselves and others.

  • Dress and undress independently and manage their own personal hygiene.

  • Select and use activities and resources independently.

  • Understand that people have different needs, views, cultures and beliefs, that need to be treated with respect.

  • Understand that they can expect others to treat their needs, views, cultures and beliefs with respect.

Problem-solving, Reasoning and Numeracy


  • Say and use number names in order in familiar contexts.

  • Count reliably up to ten everyday objects.

  • Recognise numerals 1 to 9.

  • Use developing mathematical ideas and methods to solve practical problems.

  • In practical activities and discussion, begin to use the vocabulary involved in adding and subtracting.

  • Use language such as 'more' or 'less' to compare two numbers.


  • Find one more or one less than a number from 1 to 10.

  • Begin to relate addition to combining two groups of objects and subtraction to 'taking away'.

  • Use language such as 'greater', 'smaller', 'heavier' or 'lighter' to compare quantities.

  • Talk about, recognise and recreate simple patterns.

  • Use language such as 'circle' or 'bigger' to describe the shape and size of solids and flat shapes.

  • Use everyday words to describe position.

Physical Development


  • Move with confidence, imagination and in safety.

  • Move with control and coordination.

  • Travel around, under, over and through balancing and climbing equipment.

  • Show awareness of space, of themselves and of others.

  • Recognise the importance of keeping healthy, and those things which contribute to this.

  • Recognise the changes that happen to their bodies when they are active.

  • Use a range of small and large equipment.

  • handle tools, objects, construction and malleable materials  Safely and with increasing control.

Creative Development


  • Respond in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, smell, touch and feel.

  • Express and communicate their ideas, thoughts and feelings by using a widening range of materials, suitable tools, imaginative and role-play, movement, designing and making, and a variety of songs and musical instruments.

  • Explore colour, texture, shape, form and space in two or three dimensions.

  • Recognise and explore how sounds can be changed, sing simple songs from memory, recognise repeated sounds and sound patterns and match movements to music.

  • Use their imagination in art and design, music, dance, imaginative and role-play and stories.

These areas of learning are what your child's Reception class teacher will be looking for at the end of their Summer term.

Remember all children are different and not all children will reach all of these targets by the time they are 5. Some will exceed some of these areas and some will still be on their learning path. 

These are just guidelines - Just to give you an idea of what to expect.