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Goals and Milestones


become a confident learner


Children thrive when they feel safe, valued and loved. Emotional self-regulation is a critical support for development and learning.



First milestone:

Children make a strong relationship with their key person.
Increasingly, they separate confidently from their parent at the start of the session and become involved in their play. They use their key person as a ‘secure base’ throughout the session, ‘touching base’ as/when needed.

All parents are offered a home visit for their child, and a nursery visit. Induction with parents, baselines, Learning Maps and discussions throughout the year enable adults to plan from the individual children’s interests
Where children need individualised and additional help, this will be offered promptly. Help includes; individual meetings with parents to map a way forward, Early Help support for parenting; Triple P parenting strategies.
Adults demonstrate how to manage conflict and resolutions and support the children positively with this.
As children grow in confidence, their involvement in nursery activities deepens. They explore a wider range of activities. They play for longer periods of time.


Spend time at Nursery managing their emotions with support.

Second milestone: Children take part in pretend play, communicating and negotiating with their friends.

Children play alongside friends before they play collaboratively. They develop their ‘pretend play’. As children’s engagement and perseverance grows, they either challenge themselves with more difficult activities, or they respond positively to adults challenging them.


Spend 5 minutes or more in pretend play with another child.

Third milestone: Children persevere with difficulties. They comment on their play and Learning Journey showing pleasure and pride in what they have done.

As children play and learn more collaboratively, over longer time periods, and take part in more challenging activities, they talk about and reflect on their learning.


Talk about what they are doing or have done, reflecting on their learning.

Final milestone:(Composite) Children reflect on their learning in conversations and when looking at their Learning Journeys. They are ready for learning.  They comment on their thinking and the ways they go about their learning. They reflect on what helps them to persevere through difficulties and what helps them when they find things hard. Children show they are developing their metacognition.

Vocabulary: persevere, challenge, expert, confidence, collaborate, practise

communicate what makes them special


We nurture children towards having high self-esteem, an appreciation of diversity and the wider world.

First milestone: Children can make a choice based on their interests, likes and dislikes and know that they can communicate no. They can identify their family.

Children are encouraged to bring in a photograph of their family from home to display in their group corner.  
The children are encouraged to make their own choices from a range of high-quality activities and resources.


Share a family photo.

Second milestone: Children can act out family experiences that are familiar to them.



Resources that reflect the children’s home lives are shared in nursery. Dressing up materials are generic drapes rather than set costumes to allow for different interpretations. Festivals and celebrations are shared and explored such as Diwali, Eid, Hanukkah, weddings, Christenings, birthdays and Christmas.


Share a special occasion.  

Third milestone:  Children can notice differences and similarities such as skin colour, gender, types of hair, special needs and disabilities, in picture books and within the setting and wider community.



A wide range of children’s books which reflect our diverse society are an integral part of nursery and are available for the children to take home.
Our diverse community is shared through multicultural activities and visiting parents and groups such as drummers and dancers.
Adults use books and resources such as “Who are you?” when discussing differences and similarities.


Communicate something which is similar and something which is different about themselves and someone else.

Final milestone:(Composite) Children can recognise the difference and similarities between themselves and their peers. Children care for and respect others and know how to make them feel better. They can communicate what they are good at, what they are an expert in and what makes them unique.

Vocabulary: special, similar, different, expert, unique


Follow a recipe to bake a bread roll 


We want to instil a love of cooking in our children whilst developing the ability to work independently and follow instructions in sequential order.

First milestone: With adult support, children mix different ingredients, including; sand and water, and flour and water to make simple playdough. They use the following tools; wooden spoons, sieves, scoop, rolling pins, cookie cutters and knives. 

Children use a wide range of different-sized buckets, tins and other containers. With adult support, children have opportunities to mix two or more substances together and observe the changes they see. Children become confident in using tools at the snack table to prepare their own snack e.g. spreading butter on toast.


Mix 2 or more substances together using tools.

Second milestone: In a small group, the adult uses a recipe card and draws children’s attention to the use of measures (teaspoon, tablespoon, cup etc) in particular focussing on capacity, volume and quantity i.e. how large the container is, whether the measure is full, half full, empty, and how many are required.

As children take part in these activities, they become more precise in using scoops (filling the scoop carefully to the top); sometimes with adult help they count the scoops as they tip them out.


Follow all the steps on the recipe card with support.

Third milestone: In a small group, children follow the steps in making dough with an adult. Children use measures (teaspoon, tablespoon, cup etc) and tip in the ingredients. With adult help, they knead the flour until it becomes soft and cover it. They roll the dough into small balls and flatten. They reflect on the process and observe the changes once cooked.

As children become more used to cooking, the adult reduces their support for the group as they follow recipe cards.


Fill measures accurately to the top.

Final milestone: (Composite) In small group cooking activities, children follow the steps in making a bread roll with an adult, filling measures carefully to the top (teaspoon, tablespoon, cup etc). They recognise the numerals on the recipe card. When they count out quantities (e.g., 3 teaspoons of salt) they say the numbers in the correct order (1-2-3) and they know the last number they say (3) is the total number of spoonfuls they have added.

Vocabulary: recipe, smell, instructions, measure, full, empty, ingredients

Collaborate using an obstacle course


We want our children to gain social and communication skills by collaborating on a project whilst gaining confidence through reaching physical milestones that focus on gross motor skills.

First Milestone: With adult support, identify safe equipment for building outside and begin to explore their own physical capabilities.


The children can begin with smaller resources such as wooden blocks. Larger equipment can be introduced and explored as the children become more confident and capable and their core strength and balancing skills develop.
Children begin to communicate to an adult about what that they are doing with adult support. 


Access climbing areas independently and communicate what they are doing to an adult.

Second milestone: With at least one other friend gather equipment to build a structure/ obstacle course and demonstrate to others how to use to it.

Adults ask questions and verbalise thinking, modelling the process of 'what should we do and how should we do it?'
Adults verbalise the process of making and using the equipment to scaffold children’s learning.



Build with one other child or more, with adult support.

Third milestone: In a small group, use larger construction, developing their ideas and focussing on ‘does it feel/look safe?’
Begin to plan and communicate their ideas firstly with adult support and then more independently. 






Adults provide examples of structures to inspire.
Children are encouraged to explain their thinking, reflect and consider improvements, first to adults and then to a friend. Children start to communicate with each other as they design and build.


Build and use an obstacle course with others. Communicate what they want to build, what they are doing, and why.

Final milestone: (Composite) children demonstrate strength, balance and co-ordination when climbing independently. Children build a safe, solid structure which is planned and built collaboratively from a range of equipment where the children must use a variety of physical skills to move around the course.

Vocabulary: design, structure, collaborate, communicate, stable, secure, safe, help

Create an artwork using a range of stimuli 


We want to foster a love of art and creativity in our children. We want children to learn to express their own ideas using their curiosity and imagination.

First milestone: Children learn how to use and look after the creative area. They will begin to access the creative area with adult support, experimenting with using the resources. They will use small paint brushes to apply a variety of colour paint. They will be able to put their pictures on the dryer.

Group times will be planned to introduce specific skills and materials. Children are shown where they can access the creative resources, including moveable parts, how to use the tools such as paint brushes and glue sticks and the collage materials. Children will be able to experiment freely with the range of resources, sometimes using one type of medium and other times layering their painting with collage materials and pastel crayons for example.  There is no need for a planned end outcome, rather an opportunity to experiment and learn what everything does, how it feels and how it can all work together to produce a piece of art.


Access resources in the Creative Area to produce a piece of art with adult support.

Second milestone

Children become more independent at accessing creative resources during free flow. Children build up their experience of using a range of materials so that some may begin to plan for an end outcome and consider how they may want their art to look.
Children will be shown how to join card and plastic modelling materials together to begin to build 3d art.

Children will choose to use our creative areas independently. Areas will be well stocked allowing the children free choice of all the resources. Children may need reminding to clear away and clean the equipment after use.

Children will have free access to scissors and masking tape, glue and other joining materials.


Create by joining or arranging 3d art materials together.

Third milestone: children will be exposed to a variety of artists and their work, highlighting the techniques that the artists use. Children will experiment with those techniques and media and with adult support will begin to use the influences in their own art work.

Every child will have an opportunity to experiment with various artistic styles during Group Time and artist’s art work will be available to the children during free flow to inspire and talk about.


Communicate about what you want to make and create it.

Final milestone: (Composite) children independently use a variety of techniques they have learnt to create pictures or models.

Vocabulary: technique, artist, style, create, materials, manipulate

care for our plants, allotment and animals 


Being in touch with the natural world is important to our well-being and understanding lifecycles, how food grows and minimising waste is now an essential part of our lives as humans. If we immerse children in regular, daily, first-hand experiences then natural science becomes immediate and relevant. We want our children to notice, value and care for the natural world around them, developing a deep respect for nature.

First Milestone: 

Children become familiar with animals and help take care of them with adult support.

Children are introduced to the chickens, rabbits and fish who live at nursery and follow instructions of how to take care of them including filling up water and food. They learn to respect them as they stroke them gently and speak quietly. They will join an adult to look for and collect eggs. 
They learn that they must clean their hands after handling food, cleaning or touching animals or eggs. 
Children help to feed the animals.


Take care of animals with adult support.

Second milestone: Children observe animals and plants closely. They notice and talk about the features of animals, plants, minibeasts.

Children have repeated experiences and are able to observe animals, plants, and the environment closely. Adults will support them to develop their knowledge as they closely observe, notice and can talk about features.

Adults will teach skills and knowledge through practical activities such as cooking eggs collected from our chickens or observing ice melting outside.


Observe and name features of the natural environment (such as plants, herbs, leaves, insects) within the Nursery garden.

Third milestone

Children have many experiences of lifecycles throughout their time at nursery . Children plant a bean and observe changes and growth. They watch and follow closely the metamorphosis of creatures including caterpillars and tadpoles. Adults will provide additional resources, books and interactions to support children to learn about growth, development and decay.


Understand lifecycles of a plants and animals and how to take care of them.

Final milestone: (Composite) Children have the knowledge and skills to care for some animals and plants within the nursery, understanding that they must be fed, watered and treated gently to survive and grow. They will be able to talk about features of the natural environment within the Nursery garden and the lifecycle of chickens, minibeasts and plants.

Vocabulary: care, chickens, rabbits, fish, caterpillar, butterfly, change, grow, life cycle.      


Construct a model in the woodwork studio


We want children to be able to plan, construct and learn to handle tools confidently and safely. We want then to be able to take risks, to explain their choices and talk about what they have made and how they have made it. 

First milestone: Children undertake woodwork induction with 1:1 support.

Children will learn the rules of the woodwork area: how to stay safe by wearing safety glasses when tools are in use. They will see where things are kept and how to store them safely. Under close adult supervision children will be taught how to hammer a tee into a pumpkin or a nail into a piece of wood.


Hammer a golf tee into a pumpkin or a nail into a piece of wood.

Second milestone: Children independently access woodwork. New tools are introduced, with an adult, e.g. hand drill, screwdriver, saw.

Children access the woodwork bench and explore using the hammer and nails when an adult is close by.  New tools are introduced with adult supervision such as hand drills and a saw.


Control a tool safely and change a material.

Third milestone: Children have repeated experiences at the woodwork bench. They think about what they are creating and how they want it to look e.g. “I’m making a car; it has four wheels.”

With support children use tools safely and with increasing confidence. They have an idea of what they want to make and how they want it to look. They may draw plans as they wait to access the woodwork area.


Communicate what they plan to make, in advance or during the making.

Final milestone: (Composite) Children decide on the model they will make. They may draw a plan of their model. They choose the materials they want to use, arrange materials with tools, and join materials together.

Vocabulary: safe, materials, design, plan, create, tool, choose, select


Make up a story and act out others 


Reading and Writing float on a sea of talk. We want our children to understand story structure so that they can make up, perform and tell stories. We want to ignite their interest in stories to build a firm foundation for their literacy learning.

First milestone: Children join in with role-play and play imaginatively with ‘small world.’ Children join in with repeated refrains from well-known stories.

The Nursery environment has lots of opportunities for children to play imaginatively. Stories are read for children to join in with, repeat phrases and ‘act out’ parts using facial expressions and hand movements.


Join in with repeated refrains/ actions in a well-known story.

Second milestone: Children take part in interactive reading.  They respond to features of the story.  Children join in with the group, using the resources to make up stories together.

Adults read core books over the term. As children become more used to interactive reading, they ask questions and make links between what happens in the story and their own experiences. Adults highlight exciting story language to use later in their own storytelling.

Children are introduced to the concept of character, setting, problem and solution with interesting resources, actions and songs. Groups make up stories together each week.

Helicopter Stories are introduced during Group Times and repeated regularly.


As part of a group make up a simple story with character, setting, problem and solution.

Third milestone: Children tell stories that they have made up.  They retell well-known stories using props/ picture books.  Children begin to become familiar with the way stories are structured.

Adults begin to scribe stories that the children have made up. This can be continued in group time and during free flow.

Story sequencing resources are available in free flow to inspire children to create stories together.

Adults read stories, discussing the characters, setting, problem and solution, modelling a variety of story language.


Children begin to make up their own stories in free flow.

Final milestone: (Composite) Children use the available resources to make up their own story developing the character, setting, solution and problem.

Vocabulary: characters, repeat, sequence, imagine, perform, audience, beginning, middle, end, next.

Write with a purpose in mind 


We want children to see themselves as writers and use mark making, symbols and letters in their play as a way of communicating to others.

First milestone: Children begin to use mark-making equipment independently.

Adults use group time and play opportunities to model writing every day, highlighting its meaning. Adults make sure that print, books, and mark-making resources are everywhere. 
As children watch adults modelling writing for a purpose, are read to and see print around them that is read to them; when they have exciting resources with which to mark-make, they will begin to really value writing and will want to have a go themselves.


Use mark making equipment independently

Second milestone: Children will have access to a variety of paper to mark-make and write messages to take home or deliver to a member of staff or another child. Children’s messages may also take other forms such as chalk outdoors – using arrows to lead children to a message at the end of a trail.

Adults will model writing for different purposes and read writing from left to right and top to bottom, running their finger under the words. Adults will show print has value and meaning and will support children’s own writing attempts. 


'Write a message to others'

Third milestone

Children develop an increasingly wide range of purposes for mark making and early writing to support their play such as making signs, letters, cards, tickets and maps.

Children will begin to imitate adult’s writing by producing continuous lines of shapes and symbols.


Adults plan activities that focus on collaborative and purposeful mark making and early writing. Children will start to use vertical lines, circles and zig zags to imitate writing from left to right and ‘read’ what it says.
Adults support children in taking their learning into their own play.
Children in taking their learning into their own play. 


Use writing type marks independently

Final milestone: (Composite) Children choose to write in a range of play situations with a purpose in mind, making letter-type shapes and attempting some recognisable letters from their own name.

Vocabulary: message, communicate, letters, sounds, skill, write, read


Explore Numbers using a variety of resources 


We want children to become confident with numbers to 5 and the relationships between them and the patterns within them.  The skill of subitising and using 5-frames builds up children’s knowledge of Number and Number patterns. We want to lay a firm foundation in ‘The Five C’s’ – cardinality, conservation, counting, comparison and composition. We want children to experience bigger numbers and begin to relate their knowledge of them to build up firm foundations within our number system.

First milestone: Children begin to subitise and can answer the questions ‘what do you see and how do you see it?’

Children learn to subitise up to 3 counters and know that they are ‘subitising’ when they can see how many without counting. Adults do lots of noticing with children – mathematical vocabulary is used.


Can subitise to 3. Children talk about number.

Second milestone:  Children can show the different quantities on a 5-frame using subitising and handle and partition groups of similar objects (part/whole). Children build up an image of what amounts look like (pictorial image). Children join in with number rhymes, saying some numbers in sequence.  Children can count objects, actions, and sounds in a short sequence.


Children use counters on five frames and begin to understand the concept of one more. Children explore larger groups of objects – and can talk about what they see within a larger group (part/whole). They build up a picture of what totals look like using a variety of resources including Numicon. Children recite numbers past 5. They count things such as sounds and jumps.
Adults introduce, model and children join in with a range of number rhymes with props e.g. Five Green and Speckled Frogs, Five Little Ducks, One, Two, Three, Four Five…


Children explore number within 5 and build up a range of number skills.

Third milestone:Children relate their knowledge to a range of ‘real life’ situations – e.g. getting the right number of cups for the children at snack time.
They can show you numbers to 5 and up to 10 on their fingers, with counters and using Numicon tiles. They know that when you add more objects to a group the total increases.  Children recognise Numicon to find and explore them.

Children are given learning opportunities to see what totals are made up of e.g. 5 is 4 and I and 3 and 2, 2 and 1 and 1 and 1. (Part, whole) Children experience moving objects in different ways and realise that the number stays the same even though the resources have moved. (Move it to prove it)
Children count out amounts from a larger group in real life contexts and use a variety of resources when counting to represent numbers. Numerals are used to represent amounts to 5.


Children start to use their Number knowledge throughout the Nursery, seeing connections with what they have learnt at group times.

Final milestone: (Composite) Children use, talk about and apply knowledge of cardinality, counting, comparison, conservation and composition in different play and real life situations.

Vocabulary: subitise, total, more, next, estimate, accurate, pattern, same, different.