Introducing the Early Learning Goals

The government has set down the requirements for the care and education of all children under the age of 5. Those working in any aspect of Early Years childcare, such as childminders, nurseries, preschools, children’s centres) must ensure those requirements are delivered to all children in their care.

Since September 2012, the government have required Early Years practitioners to ensure they meet 17 key learning goals. These are intended to ensure all children, from 0 to 5, get high quality care and education in the early years and are ready to start school in Year 1. These 17 learning goals fall under 7 broad areas of learning.

The areas of learning and development are divided into two categories – prime and specific.

Prime areas

There are three prime areas of learning, which are:

  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Physical development
  • Communication and language
These prime areas are considered the bedrock of all other learning and should be the main focus in particular of those working with the under 3s.

Specific areas

There are 4 specific areas of learning, which are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

These specific areas should help children start to learning more focused skills ready for school.

The Early Learning Goals

Under each area there are a number of key goals. You can see the goals in full here, but to summarise, these goals aim to develop the following aspects in each child:

  • Personal, social and emotional development
    • Making relationships
    • Self-confidence and self-awareness
    • Managing feelings and behaviour
  • Physical development
    • Moving and handling
    • Health and self-care
  • Communication and language
    • Listening and attention
    • Understanding
    • Speaking
  • Literacy
    • Reading
    • Writing
  • Mathematics
    • Numbers
    • Shape, space and measure
  • Understanding the world
    • People and communities
    • The world
    • Technology
  • Expressive arts and design
    • Exploring and using media and materials
    • Being imaginative

MAD Academy can support Early Years professionals in helping babies, toddlers and children to learn and develop in many of the aspects of the ELGs. You can find out more here.