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Goals and Milestones


settle in and 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.

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.
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. They play alongside friends. They play collaboratively. They develop their ‘pretend play’.


Spend time at Nursery managing their emotions with support.

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

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 make comments about their learning and play in their Learning Journey folders and show pleasure and pride in what they have done.

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


Talk about what they are doing or have done using the words ‘thinking’ or ‘learning.’

Final milestone: (Composite) Children reflect on their learning, through their Learning Journeys. 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

follow a recipe to make 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. They follow simple recipes in areas such as the mud kitchen.

As children take part in these activities, they become more precise in using scoops (filling the scoop carefully to the top); they count the scoops as they tip them out; they use a wide range of different-sized buckets, tins and other containers. 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, children follow the steps in making a chapatti with an adult. The adult draws children’s attention to the recipe card. With adult help, 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. With adult help, they roll the dough into small balls and flatten. They help to cook these and reflect on the process.


As children become more used to cooking, the adult reduces their support for the group. Children also mix other substances together carefully, with adult guidance, e.g. mixing water and powder paint.


Follow all the steps in the recipe card with support.

Third milestone: in small group cooking activities, children follow the steps in making a bread roll with an adult. They independently fill measures carefully to the top (teaspoon, tablespoon, cup etc). They recognise the numerals in 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.


As children become more independent, there is minimal adult support as they follow recipe cards and follow paint-mixing cards.


Fill measures accurately to the top.

Final milestone: (Composite) Children follow the steps of a recipe independently. They measure ingredients, mix them and create their own bread roll by placing the mixture onto a greased proof tray ready to be baked.

Vocabulary: recipe, predict, instructions, sequence, measure


make a model at the woodwork bench 


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 and using a magnet for nails. They will see where things are kept and how to store them safely. Children will be taught how to hammer a nail into a piece of wood.


Hammer a nail into a piece of wood.

Second milestone: children independently access woodwork. New tools are introduced, with an adult. Hand drill, screwdriver, saw, peelers.

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. Hand drills are used to drill into pumpkins first. Peelers to whittle sticks and they use the saw 1:1 with an adult to cut soft wood. Screw drivers are added to the tinker table.


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.


Talk about 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, shape materials with tools, and join materials together.

Vocabulary safety, design, plan, create, technique


build and use a collaborative 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.
The Trim Trail can be used to build climbing and balancing skills.
Children begin to communicate to an adult about what that they are doing with adult support.


Use part of the trim trail 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 to children.


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 safe?’
Begin to plan and communicate their ideas firstly with adult support and then more independently.

Children are encouraged to explain their thinking, first to adults and then to 'tell your friend.' Children then start to communicate with each other as they design and build.


Build and use an obstacle course with others. Talk about 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 for 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


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 and wash their brushes.

Group Times will be planned to introduce specific skills and materials. Children are shown where they can access the creative resources, 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 colours. 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 the creative 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 of adults. Areas will be well stocked with the table areas clear to allow 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. Children will be taught to use the masking tape dispenser to take small pieces of tape for joining.


Join 3d art materials together with tape.

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 use, look at and talk about.


Talk 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

talk about what makes them special 


We nurture children towards having a high self-esteem and 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 say no. They can identify their family.



Children are encouraged to bring in a photograph of their family from home to display in their group corners. During Free Flow, children follow their own interests and adults support this learning. Adults demonstrate how to manage conflict and resolutions and support the children positively with this. The children are encouraged to make their own choices from a range of high-quality activities and resources.


Talk about 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 and Christmas.


Bring in something that is special to you and talk about it.

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 Persona doll is used with the children to help them to explore the feelings and issues it experiences such as gender bias.

A wide range of children’s books which better 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.


Talk about 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 others and know how to make them feel better. They can talk about what they are good at, what they are an expert in and what makes them unique.

Vocabulary: special, similar, different, expert, unique

make up a story and act it out 


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 them 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 with well-known stories.

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


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

Second milestone: children act out a short story as part of a group.



At Group Times, adults read Core Books over the term so that the children know these stories really well and begin to know how stories are structured.

Helicopter Stories are introduced during Group Times and repeated weekly.


Join in with acting out a story.

Third milestone: children tell stories and that they have made up and well-known stories using props/ picture books.

Children continue to contribute in Group Times, acting out stories and being part of an audience.

Adults begin to scribe stories that the children have started to make up. This can be continued in Group Time and during Free Flow.

Adults read stories, discussing the beginning, middle and end and the characters.


Re- tell a story in sequential order.

Final milestone: (Composite) Initiate and make up your own Helicopter Story and act it out within a group.

Vocabulary: characters, repeat, sequence, imagine, perform, audience

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 to begin to use mark-making equipment independently both indoors and outdoors.

Adults use Group Time and play opportunities to model write 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, when they are read to and see print around them that is read to them, when they have exciting resources to mark-make with, children 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 and our pen collection to mark-make and draw secret messages to each other and hide them for their friends to find. 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.

Adults will re-familiarise themselves with Greg Botrill’s training on ‘The Message Centre.’



‘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 posters, 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.’

Some children will start to build some knowledge of letter sounds particularly with their name and Mummy and Daddy.  They will start to write some of their letters in their name accurately.

Children take this learning in 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

able to notice and talk about the natural world 


Being in touch with nature is important to our well-being and having knowledge of the natural world is an essential part of our lives as humans. We want our children to notice, value and investigate the natural world around them.

First milestone: children will notice and be fascinated by what they find or experience. They can name living things in the environment such as worm or snail.

Adults will use the local area for helping children to explore the natural environment and provide opportunities to observe things closely through a variety of means, e.g., magnifiers and photographs and iPad apps to listen to and recognise birds. We will use non-fiction books to reference aspects of the natural world that the children have experienced, providing opportunities to extend vocabulary by naming living things.


Can name some living things in the environment.

Second milestone: children will be able to notice and talk about materials using specific language such as wet/dry or textures such as rough/soft. Children will be able to notice and talk about the features of minibeasts eg. wings, legs,shell.

Adults will teach skills and knowledge in the context of practical activities, e.g. learning about the characteristics of liquids and solids by involving children in melting chocolate or cooking eggs, or observing ice outdoors. Adults will support children in developing their knowledge of living things in the environment by close observation and opportunities for lots of discussion.


Name features of minibeasts.

Third milestone: children can notice the similarities and differences between living things, materials and growth.



We will provide first-hand experiences to support children in making sense of micro-environments, the specific conditions which enable each plant or animal to live and thrive.
We will explore different habitats outdoors looking particularly at changes throughout the seasons.
Children will have opportunities to record and creatively represent findings by, e.g. drawing, writing.


Name changes in materials/record findings.

Final milestone: (Composite) children can notice and talk about the similarities and differences between living things, materials and growth. They can predict what may happen and why.

Vocabulary: predict, similar, different, habitat, seasons, environment


explore numbers using a variety of resources 


We want children to develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 5, the relationships between them and the patterns within them. The skill of subitising and 5 Frames builds up children’s knowledge of Number and Number patterns. We want to lay firm foundations in ‘The Five C’s’ – Cardinality and Conservation, Counting, Comparison and Composition. We want children to experience bigger numbers and begin to relate their knowledge to them to build up firm foundations with our number system.

First milestone: Children join in with number rhymes, saying some numbers in sequence. They begin to subitise and can answer the questions ‘what do you see and how do you see it?’

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 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.
Component Join in with a Number rhymes. Can subitise to 3. Children talk about Number.

Second milestone:Children can count objects, actions, and sounds in a short sequence. 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 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.

Component 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) Use, talk about and apply knowledge of cardinality and conservation, counting, comparison and composition in different play/real life situations.

Vocabulary: pattern, subitise, total, sequence, estimate, accurate