The Reception Curriculum

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum consists of seven different areas of learning and development: 

Prime areas:

The prime areas are fundamental, work together, and move through to support development in all other areas

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development 
  • Physical Development 
  • Communication and Language 

Specific Areas

The Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate fully in society

  • Literacy 
  • Mathematics 
  • Understanding the World 
  • Expressive Art and Design 

Due to the COVID situation the Government have steered us to focus on the Prime areas and specifically language, early reading, maths and phonics.

In our usual circumstances the children work towards the Early Learning Goals to be achieved at the end of the reception year.  The Government’s current reception plan will not include the usual assessment; however, we continue to provide a broad and balanced Early Years Curriculum and work towards the same high standards. 

The curriculum areas are divided into strands, the below information will provide you with the Early Learning Goal for each strand of which our standards still remain.

For a full breakdown of the development stages per area please download the Development Matters document Matters-FINAL-PRINT-AMENDED.pdf 

Personal, Social & Emotional Development:

Managing Feelings and Behaviour – Early Learning Goal – Children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations and take changes of routine in their stride. 

Self-Confidence and Self-Awareness – Early Learning Goal – Children are confident to try new activities and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help

Making Relationships – Early Learning Goal – Children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organize their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings and form positive relationships with adults and other children. 

Communication and Language  

Listening and Attention – Early Learning Goal – Children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity. 

Speaking – Early Learning Goal – Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events. 

Understanding – Early Learning Goal – Children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.

Physical Development

Moving and handling – Early Learning Goal – Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing. 

Health and self–care – Early Learning Goal – Children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently. 


Reading – Early Learning Goal – Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read. 

Writing – Early Learning Goal – Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly, and others are phonetically plausible. 

Mathematical Development

Numbers – Early Learning Goal – Children count reliably with numbers from one to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing. 

Shape, Space and Measure – Early Learning Goal – Children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them. 

Understanding the World 

People and communities – Early Learning Goal – Children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.

The world – Early Learning Goal – Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur and talk about changes. 

Technology – Early Learning Goal– Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes. 

Expressive Arts and Design 

Exploring and using media and materials – Early Learning Goal – Children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function. 

Being imaginative – Early Learning Goal – Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.