Where does ICT fit in at the Foundation Stage?
What Early Learning Goals can ICT support?


This presentation looks at the way in which many of the Early Learning Goals can be addressed using Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The ELGs are listed on the left and on the right is a statement about the role of ICT in meeting each goal. These statements are deliberately very concise because most are supported by at least one link to a website where examples and evidence can be found. This may be in the form of a description or review (R), a teaching idea (T) or an on-line activity for children (A). ICT has been interpreted broadly and covers more than just computers eg tape recorders, telephones, digital cameras).

Use the document on-line and follow each link to explore the examples. The document may also be printed for future reference.


ICT - with web links for examples

Personal, social and emotional development

Dispositions and Attitudes

  • continue to be interested, excited and motivated to learn
  • be confident to try new activities, initiate ideas and speak in a familiar group
  • maintain attention, concentrate, and sit quietly when appropriate

Almost without exception, children using appropriate ICT are interested, excited and motivated. Unlike some adults, they are unafraid of technology and confident to try out new activities and because they find the work so interesting most children have longer attention spans when using ICT.

For a general introduction to the use of ICT in the Foundation Stage see:
http://www.angelfire.com/pa/rainbox/june.html (R)

Making relationships

  • form good relationships with adults and peers;
  • work as part of a group or class, taking turns and sharing fairly, understanding that there need to be agreed values and codes of behaviour for groups of people, including adults and children, to work together harmoniously

Computers are very powerful facilitators of groupwork. Programs which present challenges stimulate children to discuss and to share. Creative programs which allow children to produce a polished product raise self-esteem. Children are eager to show and tell about their achievements.

Look at some great activities to stimulate Foundation children at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/tweenies/ (A)

For descriptions/reviews of software CDs see under 'Recommended software and websites' at:
http://www.pin.org.uk/home/index.htm (R)

Communication, language and literacy


  • interact with others, negotiating plans and activities and taking turns in conversation

Role play activities with ICT elements are perfect environments for developing a wide range of communication skills.

See 'School Office' or 'Car Park' at:
http://curriculum.becta.org.uk/docserver.php?docid=2666 (T)

Language for communication

  • sustain attentive listening, responding to what they have heard by relevant comments, questions or actions
  • listen with enjoyment and respond to stories, songs and other music, rhymes and poems and make up their own stories and poems
  • extend their vocabulary, exploring the meaning and sounds of new words

Talking books on CD, on-screen Big Books, audio cassettes and interactive websites are all ways in which ICT can be used to present stories, music and rhymes. Usually these will be used with a teacher or other adult in the 'driving seat' with a group of children listening, watching and responding.

See for example the stories on:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/littlekids/stories/index.shtml (A)

Language for thinking

  • use language to imagine and create roles and experiences
  • use talk to organise, sequence and clarify thinking, ideas, feelings and events

Role play may involve use of the telephone and other office equipment.

The use of programmable toys can stimulate discussion and cooperative problem solving.

For full specifications and operating instructions for Pixie and Pip robots and lots of ideas and supplementary resources for using them in the classroom see:
http://www.swallow.co.uk (T)(R)

Linking sounds and letters

  • hear and say initial and final sounds on words, and short vowel sounds within words
  • link sounds to letters, naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet

Word games including matching, rhyming and first letter recognition are available on websites and as part of CD collections. These allow children to practice skills in a very motivating environment.

See Digby the Mole at:
www.bbc.co.uk/education/laac/menu.html (A)


  • explore and experiment with sounds, words and texts
  • retell narratives in the correct sequence, drawing on the language patterns of stories
  • read a range of familiar and common words and simple sentences independently
  • know that print carries meaning and, in English, is written from left to right and top to bottom
  • show an understanding of the elements of stories, such as main character, sequence of events, and openings, and how information can be found in non-fiction texts to answer questions about where, who, why and how

On-screen Big Books can be used to help focus children's attention on print and to explore a variety of stories. After using any ICT children can be encouraged to tell what happened.

See 'Where do Hedgehogs Go?' in the Big Books section of the Classroom Activities on the Naace Primary website:
http://primary.naace.co.uk (A)

More stories can be found on the BBC Little Animals Activity Centre at:
www.bbc.co.uk/education/laac/menu.html (A)


  • use their phonic knowledge to write simple regular words and make phonetically plausible attempts at more complex words
  • attempt writing for various purpose, using features of different forms such as lists, stories and illustrations
  • write their own names and other things such as labels and captions and begin to form sentences, sometimes using punctuation

The use of the computer for the writing of labels and captions allows children to achieve a rewarding finished product. Word processors can also be used for 'play' writing in role play. This work also helps to develop simple word processing skills and keyboard familiarity.

Clicker is a writing program which can be customised for early writers. Find out more about it at:
www.cricksoft.com/cgfl/index.htm (T)(R)

Mathematical development

Numbers as labels and counting

  • say and use number names in order in familiar contexts
  • count reliably up to 10 everyday objects
  • recognise numerals 1 to 9
  • use developing mathematical ideas and methods to solve practical problems

Simple on-screen counters are available which provide a superb stimulus for talking and thinking about numbers. For example using the counter at the web address below the teacher could set it to count in steps of 1, stop the count at 6 (or 9 or 19) and ask the class - What will the next number be? What is one more?

http://www.ambleside.schoolzone.co.uk/ambleweb/mentalmaths/bigcount.html (A)


  • in practical activities and discussion begin to use the vocabulary involved in adding and subtracting
  • use language such as 'more' or 'less' to compare two numbers
  • find one more or one less than a number from 1 to 10
  • begin to relate addition to combining two groups of objects, and subtraction to 'taking away'

Mathematical games and activities are available on websites and as part of CD collections. These allow children to practice skills in a very motivating environment.

See, for example:
www.bbc.co.uk/education/numbertime (A)

Shape, space and measures

  • use language such as 'greater','smaller', 'heavier' or 'lighter', to compare quantities
  • talk about, recognise and recreate simple patterns
  • use language such as 'circle' or 'bigger' to describe the shape and size of solids and flat shapes
  • use everyday words to describe position
  • use developing mathematical ideas and methods to solve practical problems

The use of programmable toys encourages children to think about space and position and make use of appropriate vocabulary for discussing these.

See 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt at:
http://curriculum.becta.org.uk/docserver.php?docid=2666 (T)

The use of ICT enables children to practice different ways of sorting and grouping without the need to move objects physically.

See 'Sorting Game' in the Classroom Activities section of the Naace Primary website:
http://primary.naace.co.uk (A)

Knowledge and understanding of the world

Exploration and Investigation

  • investigate objects and materials by using all of their senses as appropriate
  • find out about, and identify some features of, living things, objects and events they observe
  • look closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change
  • ask questions about why things happen and how things work

The use of digital cameras can heighten children's attention to visual detail. ICT presents lots of opportunities for 'whatiffing' ... exploring and asking - What would happen if I did this?

See the article 'Autumn Walk' on the Naace Primary website (look under Curriculum Support - Science):
http://primary.naace.co.uk (T)

Websites offer activities on the weather and the seasons:
www.funwithspot.com/house.asp?locale+UK (A)

Information and Communication Technology

  • find out about and identify the uses of everyday technology and use information and communication technology and programmable toys to support their learning

Role play presents opportunities to find out about everyday uses.

See 'Class Caf´┐Ż or 'Timers' at:
http://curriculum.becta.org.uk/docserver.php?docid=2666 (T)

A sense of place

  • observe, find out about, and identify features in the place they live and the natural world
  • find out about their environment, and talk about those features they like and dislike

Trails in and around the school grounds can be made using tape recorded instructions to direct children's attention to the world around them.

For ideas for a seasonal nature walk see:
www.naturegrid.org.uk/infant/index.html (A)(T)

Physical Development

Health and bodily awareness

  • recognise the importance of keeping healthy and those things which contribute to this
  • recognise the changes that happen to their bodies when they are active

Computer programs are available which can be used in the context of a topic on 'All About Me'.

See 'All About Me - My Body' at:
http://curriculum.becta.org.uk/docserver.php?docid=2666 (T)

Using tools and materials

  • handle tools, objects, construction and malleable materials safely and with increasing control

The computer keyboard and mouse are tools that require practice for effective use.

See the article 'What are the most efficient strategies for It in the early years' on the Naace Primary website (look under Curriculum Support - Early Years):
http://primary.naace.co.uk (T)

Creative development

Exploring media and materials

  • explore colour, texture, shape, form and space in two and three dimensions

Many programs allow children to create paint and print.

See, for example, Design a house with Mr Bentley on Bob the Builder's website:
www.bobthebuilder.com (A)


  • recognise and explore how sounds can be changed, sing simple songs from memory, recognise repeated sounds and sound patterns and match movements to music

Songs and music are available on-line and on CD:
www.threetofiveyears.co.uk/activities/farm/farm.html (A)

Responding to experiences, and expressing and communicating ideas

  • respond in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, smell, touch and feel;
  • express and communicate their ideas, thoughts and feelings by using a widening range of materials, suitable tools, imaginative and role play, movement, designing and making, and a variety of songs and musical instruments.

Tape recorders and video or digital cameras may be used to record children's own music, songs and dance. See 'Weather Dance' at:
http://curriculum.becta.org.uk/docserver.php?docid=2666 (T)


There is clearly a place for ICT in the Foundation Stage.

The 'Desirable Outcomes' state that children should 'use technology where appropriate to support their learning'. In order to achieve this it might be helpful to ask the following questions about ICT use in your setting:

These are some of the questions we hope you will engage with in planning for the use of ICT in the Foundation stage. If you would like to discuss any of the ideas please feel free to contact me at heather.govier@mape.org.uk. You may also have further recommendations of software or website you wish to share. Or you may disagree with the whole premise and feel that ICT does not have a place in the Foundation Stage.

Whatever your position, I look forward to talking with you.

(Educational Consultant and Chair of MAPE)

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