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Development Matters


What are the Early Learning Goals?


 The Early Years Foundation Stage Development Matters document is a great place to read all about the Early Learning Goals. To read this document, click on the link below. 


There is an Early Learning Goal for each of the seven Areas of Learning outlined in the Development Matters reading document. These areas are:

  • Communication and Language Development (CLD) - CLD supports children as they learn how to express themselves. Their language skills help them understand others as well as to show their own thoughts, ideas, and needs.
  • Physical Development (PD) - Physical Development engages children's fine and gross motor skills. It encourages focus on not only skills like walking and jumping, but small skills like using pens and scissors.
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) - In Development Matters, PSED is one of the key Prime Areas of Learning. It focuses on helping children to look after themselves, build relationships and manage their emotions. And it's not just important to their educational journeys! Development Matters PSED helps children to build lifelong foundations they will use day after day.
  • Literacy (L) - In Development Matters, reading and writing fall under Literacy. These skills are key for use not just in enjoying and engaging with stories, but for expanding children's learning opportunities. These skills will help them engage with all kinds of topics and set them up for moving on to KS1.
  • Mathematics (M) - Mathematics helps EYFS children learn about basics. From recognising numbers and counting to shapes and sizes, EYFS maths covers key skills and understandings.
  • Understanding the World (UtW) - With UtW, children gain an understanding and appreciation of the world around them. This supports learning about different cultures and celebrations. It focuses on knowledge that we adults often take for granted about the society and environment we find ourselves in.
  • Expressive Arts and Design (EAD) - Children get to explore all kinds of methods and materials of expressing themselves with art. EAD lets children get messy as they explore ways to show their creativity and let their imaginations run wild.


The Early Learning Goals are an important way of assessing and tracking children's progress at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage. These goals are what the child is expected to reach by the end of their Reception year, before moving on to KS1. Each one has goals broken into varying age brackets. This helps practitioners at different age groups understand where their children should be, and informs their observations. Each is written as general guidance, expecting that each child will develop at their own rate, gaining skills at different times. 


Reception - Development Matters Overview