Elsworth Pre-School Curriculum September 2021.


Statutory Educational Programmes


Communication and Language

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.

  • Back and forth interactions

  • Quantity and quality of conversations with adults and peers.

  • Language rich environment

  • Echo back child’s speech with added vocabulary

  • Opportunities to embed new language in a range of contexts.

  • Reading to children

  • Actively engaging in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems

  • Modelling and sensitive questioning

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

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.

  • Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults

  • Support to manage emotions, positive sense of self, set simple goals, self-confidence, persevere and wait when needed.

  • Adult modelling and guidance – learn to look after bodies, healthy diet, personal needs independently.

  • Supported peer interactions – form good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflict.

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.

  • Through games and play indoors and outdoors – develop core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility.

  • Gross motor skills = healthy body, social and emotional well-being.

  • Fine motor control – precision, hand-eye co-ordination, proficiency, control and confidence.


 It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing).

  • Life-long love of reading.

  • Adults talk about the world around them

  • Adults talk about the books they read together

  • Fiction, non-fiction, rhymes, poems, songs


Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 5, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding - such as using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting - children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.

  • Count confidently, deep understanding to 5, relationships between them and patterns within those numbers.

  • Physical resources to develop understanding = secure base = mastery

  • Positive attitudes and interests in mathematics

  • Develop special reasoning skills – shape, space & measure

  • Patterns, connections, ‘have a go’ – not be afraid to make mistakes.


Understanding the World

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.

  • Making sense of the physical world and community

  • Personal experiences develops sense of world around them

  • Broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems to support understanding of diverse world and vocabulary to support this.



Expressive Arts and Design

The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. It is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe.

  • Regular opportunities to engage with art

  • Explore and play with wide range of media and materials

  • Quality, variety, frequency and repetition – support understanding, self-expression, vocabulary, appreciation and communication through art.


What we want our children to be

  • Competent communicators

  • Ability to self-regulate with ability to form quality friendships and begin to resolve conflict

  • Able to attend to self-care needs: independent toileting, handwashing, dressing/undressing

  • Able to lead their learning, have a go and try out ideas, reflecting and learning from the process, developing their understanding through inquisition.

  • Resilient learners who have developed how to take healthy risks in learning both cognitively and physically.

  • With school in mind, children will recognise and attempt to write their own name, be able to sit and listen for an appropriate length of time, for an engaging activity/story/instruction. They will have a secure and deep understanding of numbers to ten.


Experiences our children will have

  • To have been familiarised with community life: police, medic, fire, library, bus, ordering food (café/pub garden), shop, dentist.

  • To have developed a connection to nature and an understanding of caring for our world through foraging, nature scavenger hunts and seasonal awareness walks.

  • To have cooked both sweet and savoury foods, preferably including vegetables that they have planted and nurtured.

This will be tailored so that learning is child-led, centred around individual children’s needs and interests, enhanced by adults who sensitively question and support children through learning moments with enhanced resources and experiences to develop these further.


  • Progression from 2/3 to 3/4

Curriculum Goals

  • To make sandwiches for a parent’s picnic

  • To plant and care for a plant

  • To collaboratively design and make a junk-model in a small team

  • To write their first name

  • To throw and catch a ball

  • To retell a story, move rhythmically to music and create a variety of sounds with instruments

  • To understand patterns and quantity

  • To prepare for and experience a community outing (eg lunch in the pub garden)


To make sandwiches for a parent’s picnic

Step 1

To experiment with tools in the sand and other sensory materials eg scooping, tipping, digging, filling.

Step 2

To experiment with ‘cooking’ in pretend play in the home corner and in the mud kitchen.

Step 3

To manipulate small items with tweezers or threading beads on string.

Step 4

Begin to develop an understanding of a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet.

Step 5

To look at menus and recipes through play, choosing what they would like to make before considering the ingredients they would need.

Step 6

To take part in food preparation activities with support. Beginning to scoop, cut, weigh and stir with some precision when scaffolded.


To independently and hygienically make a sandwich, by spreading butter and adding a filling before safely cutting the bread with a knife.


To plant a seed and care for the plant

 Step 1

To show an interest in the natural world around them, exploring with all of their senses.

Step 2

To comment on the world around them including textures, colours and sizes beginning to use comparative language (eg bigger/smaller).

Step 3

To create experiences that link children to their natural world and community (eg berries on trees or bushes. Buying seeds from the shop).

Step 4

To use comparative language relating to size, height, weight and pattern, to describe things they observe in nature.

Step 5

To grow vegetables and plants with support, beginning to develop an understanding of the needs of plants and growth.

Step 6

To observe and comment on differences in the environment, developing

an understanding of seasons and caring for the environment, using increased language to explain their understanding.


To plant a seed understanding what it needs to thrive. To nurture the plant and make comments on their observations as it grows including the use of mathematical and comparative language.

To collaboratively design and make a junk-model in a small team

 Step 1

To build towers and/or structures using bricks or other construction materials.

Step 2

To use loose parts to create structures, pictures or other imaginary purposes.

Step 3

To begin to play games together, including using objects for props purposefully and making marks as part of their imaginative play.

Step 4

To use tools to effect change on materials (eg cutting paper, card, leaves etc)

Step 5

To build with a purpose in mind using a range of resources; choosing them purposefully to support their play or construction (eg box for a house, loose parts and blocks for a farmyard).

Step 6

To negotiate play with peers, making compromises when playing structured games or imaginary games, developing them to incorporate others’ ideas.


With a peer or in a small group, decide on a model to make together, compromising and considering others’ opinions and wishes. To plan what they will need, the quantity of each, making marks to represent these. To support each other in the construction of the model, reflecting and making adjustments as needed to make their model work with some adult support.

To write their first name

 Step 1

To experiment with mark-making in their choice of mediums. For example, using sticks in mud, drawing in sand, painting, stamping.

Step 2

To engage in largescale mark making using paintbrushes, water sprayers, rollers etc.

Step 3

To use chalks or other mediums to express themselves.

Step 4

To engage in purposeful small-scale mark making, developing their pencil grip to a tripod grip and beginning to ascribe meaning to the marks they make.

Step 5

To mark-make with a purpose in mind (eg representing people, experiences, quantity or words through marks). Being able to explain the marks they make.

Step 6

To trace their name with support using a letter formation aid. Writing their name using paintbrushes and water, in sensory materials such as sand or mud.


To independently write the letters of their name so that they are recognisable with some letters formed correctly. Consideration should be given to the length of the name/quantity of letters in the child’s name.


To throw and catch a ball

 Step 1

To experiment with trajectory or items through the use of ramps, rolling, water, squirters, cars or other items of choice.

Step 2

To engage in gross motor activities, developing muscle strength including climbing, balancing and running.

Step 3

To take part in activities such as rolling a ball to each other in a circle or putting curtain rings on a mug tree to improve hand to eye co-ordination.

Step 4

To roll a ball, down a drainpipe for example, to predict how long it will take/speed/trajectory and aim to catch it at the right moment.

Step 5

To throw a range of balls and beanbags at a target area with increasing accuracy.

Step 6

To catch a large ball thrown to them by an adult with increasing accuracy, developing an understanding of putting their hands out ready to receive and looking at the ball.


To throw a medium sized ball to another person a short distance away. To catch a medium sized ball when thrown directly to them.


To retell a story, move rhythmically to music and create a variety of sounds with instruments.

 Step 1

To begin to have favourite songs, joining in with increasing confidence. Some children may choose to sing these songs in play.

Step 2

To begin to independently look at books and select books to share with a familiar adult. Beginning to say key words from the book.

Step 3

To experiment with different musical instruments (rhythm, tempo, volume) and begin to move to the music, matching the beat/rhythm. 

Step 4

To participate in reading familiar stories, finishing sentences and joining in with repeated refrains. Using props to support the telling of the story (for example use of story sacks) in an interactive way exploring how the different characters behave and sound.

Step 5

To use story props with support to create a made-up story.

Step 6

To tell a story from a book. Using the pictures as an aid, saying what the pictures show as the ‘story’.


In a small group retell a story (maybe using props and dressing up materials). To repeat key phrases from the story as they retell it adding expression through actions or tone of voice.


To understand patterns and quantity

Step 1

To construct and build using blocks, boxes and loose parts.

Step 2

To show an interest in puzzles and problem solving games with a mathematical focus.

Step 3

To identify numerals and recite numbers up to 5, representing them on their fingers and saying one number name for each item.

Step 4

To explore and develop the language of quantity, size, length and weight through open-ended play.

Step 5

To explore quantity, grouping and sequencing using a TENS frame.

Step 6

To identify and explore patterns and symbols in the environment.


To be able to create an AB, AB or an ABC, ABC pattern using small or large loose parts and confidently understand the breadth of quantity to 5. 

To identify numerals and recite numbers up to 5, representing them on their fingers To prepare for and experience a community outing (eg lunch in the pub garden)

 Step 1

To talk about and prepare for road safety. Practice in the setting and locally, begin by using the ‘walkadile’ and progressing appropriately.

Step 2

To engage in small world play, exploring and beginning to influence their play through first-hand experiences. (eg farm, town, garage, beach, small world).

Step 3

To talk about experiences that they have had with their family. Eg, holidays, birthdays, outings, weekend activities.

Step 4

To role play visiting a café, including being the customer and waiter. Choosing from the menu, taking an order. Producing a bill and paying for the bill.

Step 5

To look at facilities in the local community, using technology to search and viewing local magazines etc.
Step 6

To go for a village walk taking notice of what they can see, key community places and making comments about what they observe including the similarities and differences between old and new features and buildings.


To plan a community trip, finding and looking at the opening times, making a booking, considering transport, the menu, how to order food and how to pay.

Father and Daughter
Jam Cookies