Limehouse Day Nursery working in partnership with parents.

Limehouse Day Nursery promotes the learning and development of all children in their care to ensure they are ultimately ready for school.

Limehouse Day Nursery embraces the early learning goals that help children work towards the knowledge, skills and understanding children should have at the end of the academic year in which they turn five.

Early learning goals summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that all young children should have gained by the end of their nursery education.

The Areas of Learning and Development

There are seven areas of learning and development that shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.

Three Prime Areas

Communication and Language

Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

Early Learning Goals: Communication and Language

Listening and Attention: children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.

Understanding: children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.

Speaking: children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Physical Development

Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

Early Learning Goals: Physical Development

Moving and Handling: children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.

Health and Self-care: children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Early Learning Goals: Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Self-confidence and Self-awareness: children are confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help.

Managing Feelings and Behaviour: children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.

Making Relationships: children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.

4 Specific Areas

through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied


Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

Early Learning Goals: Literacy

Reading: children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.

Writing: children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.


Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.

Early Learning Goals: Mathematics

Numbers: children count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.

Shape, Space and Measures: children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.

Understanding the World

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

Early Learning Goals: Understanding the World 

People and communities: children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.

The World: children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.

Technology: children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.

Expressive Arts and Design

Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Early Learning Goals: Expressive Arts and Design

Exploring and Using Media and Materials: children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.

Being Imaginative: children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.

Individual children’s needs, interests, and stage of development are used to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all of the areas of learning and development. Activities and learning experiences (educational programmes) are shaped to suit each child in particular, reflecting observations made during those activities and experiences. In their interactions with children, practitioners respond to their own day-to-day observations about children’s progress and can share observations with parents to enhance the child’s learning and development at home..

Practitioners working with the youngest children focus strongly on the three prime areas, which are the basis for successful learning in the other four specific areas. The three prime areas reflect the key skills and capacities all children need to develop and learn effectively, and become ready for school. It is expected that the balance will shift towards a more equal focus on all areas of learning as children grow in confidence and ability within the three prime areas.

If a child’s progress, as they grow in confidence and ability, in any of the three prime areas gives cause for concern it will be discussed with the child’s parents to agree how best to support the child. If it is considered that a child may have a special educational need or disability which requires specialist support, we will link with and help families to access relevant services from other agencies.

For children whose home language is not English, we take reasonable steps to provide opportunities for children to develop and use their home language in play and learning, supporting their language development at home.

We ensure that children have sufficient opportunities to learn and reach a good standard in English language ready to benefit from the opportunities available to them in their future.

When assessing communication, language and literacy skills, practitioners must assess educational programmes. Educational programmes involve activities and experiences designed for children.

The different ways that children learn are reflected in planning and guiding their activities, including these in their educational programmes.

Effective teaching and learning

Playing and Exploring

Children are given the opportunity to investigate, discover and experience things, and are encouraged to ‘have a go’.

Active Learning

Children are encouraged to concentrate on a specific activity and to keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and ‘enjoy their achievement’.

Creating and Thinking Critically

Children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things, and are proud to have ‘done it’.


Assessment plays an important role in helping parents, carers and practitioners to recognise children’s progress, understand their needs, and to plan activities and support. Ongoing assessment (also known as formative assessment) is an integral part of the learning and development process. It involves practitioners observing children to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles, and children’s skills, assessed in English.

If a child does not have a strong grasp of English language, we explore the child’s skills in their home language with parents, to establish whether there is cause for concern about language delay.

Making Assessments do not entail prolonged breaks from interaction with children, nor excessive paperwork. Paperwork is limited to that which is absolutely necessary to promote children’s successful learning and development. Parents are regularly kept up-to-date with their child’s progress and development.

Any learning and development needs are addressed in partnership with parents and any relevant professionals.