Early Years

The Prime Areas:

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.

This area develops children’s positive sense of themselves. It teaches about having respect for oneself and others, developing social skills and a good attitude to learning. To give children the best opportunities through Positive Relationships, adults form caring relationships with all children. In Enabling Environments opportunities for play and learning are created that help children embrace differences between themselves and others. Learning and Development experiences are planned to promote all round development.

PSED is made up of these aspects:

  • Self-Confidence and Self-Awareness
  • Managing Feelings and Behaviour
  • Making Relationships

Communication and Language

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.

This area provides children with opportunities for speaking and listening and ignites children’s interest in reading and writing. To give children the best opportunities for developing Communication and Language Positive Relationships support children to communicate their ideas and thoughts with each other and with adults. Enabling Environments contain signs, symbols, words, songs and notices. They also have books and pictures that take into account interests, backgrounds and cultures.

CL is made up of these aspects:

  • Listening and attention
  • Understanding
  • Speaking

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.

This area provides opportunities for children to be active and devlop their co-ordination, manipulation and movement. It develops understanding of the importance of being physically active and eating healthily. To give children the best opportunities through Positive Relationships children are supported in their understanding of exercise, sleep and eating to promote health. Activities in Enabling Environments both indoors and outdoors encourage energetic physical play. In Learning and Development, snack times promote social skills and the importance of making healthy food choices.

PD is made up of these aspects:

  • Moving and Handling
  • Health and Self-Care

The Specific Areas:


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.

LD is made up of these aspects

  • Reading
  • Writing


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.

This area supports children’s understanding in different situations by providing opportunities to explore, practise, learn and talk. They practise skills and gain confidence and competence. To give children the best opportunities through Positive Relationships children use mathematical words and ideas in their play. Enabling Environments have resources for counting, calculating and shape available indoors and outdoors. In Learning and Development, stories, songs and imaginative play help with mathematical understanding.

Mathematics is made up of these aspects:

  • Numbers
  • Shape, Space and Measures

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.

This area offers children opportunities to explore and observe the environment, living things and objects. To give children the best opportunities through Positive Relationships, parents’ and carers’ knowledge extend children’s experiences of the world. In Enabling Environments, open-ended questions like, “How can we..?” and “What would happen if…?” are used. Learning and Development is based on first-hand experiences to observe, predict, make decisions and discuss.

UW is made up of these aspects:

  • People and Communities
  • The World
  • Technology

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.

This area supports children’s curiosity and play. They explore and share their thinking, ideas and feelings in music, in art, movement and dance, role play and technology. To give children the best opportunities through Positive Relationships children value their own unique ideas and those of others rather than reproducing those of someone else. Enabling Environments are stimulating and originality and expressiveness are valued. Learning and Development experiences allow children to express themselves through various types of representation.

EAD is made up of these aspects:

  • Exploring and Using Media and Materials
  • Being Imaginitive

How can you help your child at home?

  • Talk to your child when you are doing jobs, in the car, are out shopping, etc telling them what you are doing.  Encourage the asking of questions to extend vocabulary.
  • Ask your child to tell you about the things they are doing and show them that you are listening.
  • Read stories to your child. Talk about the books that you have read together.    
  • Take your child for walks; play in the garden or the park.
  • Help your child to use a knife and fork.
  • Teach them how to do up zips and buttons.
  • Use balls to play throwing, catching, rolling and kicking games.
  • Allow your child to take risks and be aware of their own limitations.
  • Show your child how to wash their hands effectively and talk about why this is important.
  • Praise your child for trying hard.
  • Encourage your child to mix with other children and adults and to share their toys.
  • Set clear boundaries for behaviour. Praise your child for doing as they are asked.
  • Encourage your child to be independent, help them to learn how to get dressed, wash and use the toilet.
  • Play games with your child, encourage them to take turns.
  • Encourage your child to observe that numbers are everywhere – house numbers, road signs, prices, television, number plates and buses.
  • Ask your child to sort washing into colours.
  • Make patterns with everyday objects or count out the cutlery needed at meal times. Are there enough plates for everyone?
  • Look for shapes in the home, in the street, in shops or in toys.
  • Count items such as the stairs, toys, books, fingers, toes.
  • At bath time provide children with containers to experiment with capacity, developing concepts such as full and empty. 
  • Encourage them to play with paper, pencils and pens.  Encourage them to experiment with the marks they can make.
  • When out and about or at home, show your child that print is everywhere; shop names, food packets, television, road signs etc.
  • Take your child to the library and encourage them to choose books to share.
  • Encourage your child to use their senses – what does it look, feel, smell like?  Ask them to feel different textures and develop vocabulary to describe them.
  • Talk to your child about the seasons and the weather and observe the changes with them.
  • Talk about events in the past and future.  Use photographs.
  • When walking or traveling, talk and name different landmarks, animals, plants, birds that are seen.
  • Through books and television, discuss the differences between other countries and cultures.