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A game of pirates – ELGs

A group of children are playing a game of pirates in the school garden. See how this pretend play develops imagination and self-regulation skills.

Good for looking at

  • Pretend play
  • Imagination
  • Socialising
  • Communication
  • Self-regulation

Another example of how observing role play is valuable to inform assessment across a variety of goals.


  • How the rules of the game are developed and engaged with. (It is interesting to note the less obvious children and how they are participating. Their role is important and could easily be missed.)


Refer back to the ELGs for Personal, Social and Emotional Development. (see further reading section)

  • How does the environment support the children to demonstrate their skills?
  • Do you think all the children meet the ELGs? Why? Or why not?
  • Although there are no adults in the clip, what have they enabled?
  • Which other Early Learning Goals are being demonstrated here?

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Self-Regulation ELG

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Show an understanding of their own feelings and those of others, and begin to regulate their behaviour accordingly;
  • Set and work towards simple goals, being able to wait for what they want and control their immediate impulses when appropriate;
  • Give focused attention to what the teacher says, responding appropriately even when engaged in activity, and show an ability to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.

Managing Self ELG

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Be confident to try new activities and show independence, resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge;
  • Explain the reasons for rules, know right from wrong and try to behave accordingly;
  • Manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, including dressing, going to the toilet, and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.

Building Relationships ELG

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Work and play cooperatively and take turns with others;
  • Form positive attachments to adults and friendships with peers;
  • Show sensitivity to their own and to others’ needs.