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The document below shows the milestones for Reception for each area of the curriculum for each half term.  They are used as a guide.

Reception Term by Term Progression Document

Information about the areas of learning in Reception:

Half Termly Focus

The areas of learning in the EYFS are split into Prime and Specific.


Prime Areas


The three EYFS Prime Areas of Learning are:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED).
  • Physical Development.
  • Communication and Language.


Communication and Language

This area is sub-divided into Speaking, Listening and Understanding.

The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children's language effectively. Reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures.


Personal, Social and Emotional Development

This area is sub-divided into Self-regulation, Managing Self and Building Relationships.

Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. Children should be supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and wait for what they want and direct attention as necessary. Through adult modelling and guidance, they will learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and manage personal needs independently. Through supported interaction with other children, they learn how to make good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peaceably. These attributes will provide a secure platform from which children can achieve at school and in later life.


Physical Development

Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults. By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination, which is later linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools, with feedback and support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.





Specific Areas


The Four Specific Areas of EYFS are Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.



This area is divided between 'Comprehension''Word Reading' and 'Writing'. Each of these sections focuses on different skills relating to reading and writing development.


Comprehension refers to children understanding and comprehending the words they read or hear. It's a necessary skill for both reading and writing, and it starts from birth. Language comprehension mainly develops when adults talk with children about the world around them, explaining things, answering questions and giving examples of words. Reading books to children - whether they're fictional stories or facts and non-fiction - and sharing rhymes, poems and songs together will promote this development further as children grow. This can be a crucial stage for children, as keen work here may develop a life-long love of reading.


Word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words based on the sounds of each letter, which is called 'decoding'. They should also be learning the speedy recognition of familiar printed words.


Writing involves transcription, including both spelling and handwriting. It also involves composition, where children articulate ideas and structure them in speech, before writing.




Mathematics is divided between 'Number' and 'Numerical Patterns'.


Number concentrates on number work and number problems, supporting children in counting, addition and subtraction.


Numerical Patterns focuses on recognising and representing patterns as they count, being able to compare numbers and see differences.



Understanding the World:

Understanding the World covers three key topics, which include:


People, Culture, and Communities - In this area children will broaden their understanding of different people including their cultures, religious beliefs, and their individual contributions to society.


The Natural World - This area explores the natural world, seeking to help children understand the seasons and other living organisms.


Past and Present - Looking at the past and present, children should be beginning to understand and articulate differences.


Expressive Arts and Design:

Expressive Arts and Design seeks to support children in expanding their imagination and ability to express themselves using the skills they have gained through the previous Prime and Specific Areas of Learning.


Creating with Materials - Children can experiment with different ways to make or present art. This includes looking at different media, like drawings or sculptures, and different materials, like colouring, painting, or building.


Being Imaginative and Expressive - Children being able to come up with their own pictures, ideas, and ways to express themselves.