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What children should be able to do by age 5


Children are confident and able to establish effective relationships with other children and with adults. They work as part of a group and independently, are able to concentrate for sustained periods, to explore new learning and to seek help where needed. They are independent in dressing themselves and in matters of personal hygiene. Children respect others, take turns, share fairly and behave appropriately, developing a sense of what is right and what is wrong, and why. They treat living things and property with care and concern. They take part, where appropriate, in cultural and religious events and sometimes show feelings, such as wonder, pleasure and sorrow.


In small and large groups, children listen attentively and talk about their experiences. They use a growing vocabulary with increasing fluency to express thoughts and convey meaning to the listener. They listen and respond, with enjoyment, to stories, songs, nursery rhymes and poems. They make up their own stories and take part in role play, with confidence. Children enjoy books and understand that words and pictures carry meaning. They handle books carefully and know that in English, print is read from left to right and top to bottom. They begin to associate sounds with patterns in rhymes, with syllables, and with words and letters. They recognise their own names and some familiar words. They recognise letters of the alphabet by shape and sound. In their writing they use pictures, symbols, familiar words and letters, to communicate meaning. They write their names with appropriate use of upper and lower case letters.


Children use simple mathematical language, such as circle, in front of, bigger than and more, to describe shape, position, size and quantity. They recognise and recreate patterns. They are familiar with rhymes, songs, stories, counting games and activities. They compare, sort, match, order, sequence and count using everyday objects. They recognise and use numbers to 1O and are familiar with large numbers from their everyday lives, for example, their birthdays and house numbers. Through practical activities children understand and record numbers, begin to show awareness of number operations, such as addition and subtraction, and begin to use the language involved.


Children talk about where they live, their environment, their families and past and present events in their own lives. They explore and recognise features of the natural and made world and observe similarities, differences, patterns and change. They talk about their observations, sometimes recording them and ask questions about why things happen and how things work. They use skills, such as cutting, joining, folding and building and use a range of appropriate tools safely. They use tape recorders, computers and other technology, where appropriate.


Children use a range of materials, suitable tools and resources to represent what they see, hear, touch and feel. They explore colour, texture, shape, form and space in two and three dimensions. They respond to rhythm in music and dance and use imagination in stories and role play.


Children move confidently and imaginatively with increasing control and coordination and an awareness of space and others. They use a range of small and large equipment, such as wheeled toys, beanbags, balls and balancing and climbing apparatus, with increasing skill. They handle small tools and objects, such as pencils, paintbrushes and scissors, with increasing control.

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