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Progression in History

Early Years skills/knowledge taught in Nursery and Reception that support future learning in History




& Language

Physical Development

Personal, Social & Emotional Development



Understanding the World

Expressive Arts

& Design

Characteristics of Effective Learning



Key themes:










Retell a simple past event in the correct order.


Use a range of tenses.


Use talk to organise, sequence and clarify ideas, feelings and events.


Use past forms accurately when talking about events that have happened.




Begin to be aware of how stories are structured.


Describe main story settings, events and principal characters.



Use everyday language related to time.


Order and sequence familiar events.


Measure periods of time in different ways.

Remember and talk about significant events in their own experience.


Develop an understanding of growth, change and decay over time.


Talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members.


Make observations and talk about changes.

Explore and learn how sounds can be changed.


Explore how colours can be changed.


Experiment with different ways of making changes.

Maintain focus for a period of time.


Develop ideas of grouping, sequences, cause and effect.

Range and Depth of Historical Knowledge


Key themes:








Build up vocabulary that reflects the breadth of their experience.


Extend vocabulary, especially by grouping and naming and exploring the meaning and sounds of new words.


Aware of own feelings and knows that some actions and words can hurt others’ feelings.


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.

Read and understand simple sentences


Begin to talk about the shapes of everyday objects.


Show awareness of similarities of shapes in the environment.


Use mathematical terms to describe shapes.

Recognise and describe special times or events for family or friends.


Talk about some of the similarities and differences in relation to friends or family.


Know about similarities and differences between themselves and others and among families, communities and traditions.


Know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects and materials.

Engage in imaginative role-play based on own first-hand experiences.


Play cooperatively as part of a group to develop and act out a narrative.

Take on a role in their play.


Act out experiences with other people.


Think of ideas.



Interpretations of History


Key themes:



Use talk to recall and relive past experiences.


Use language to recreate experiences in play situation.


Handle tools and equipment effectively.


Ascribe meaning to marks that they see in different places.


Enjoy an increasing range of books.


Use everyday language to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems.

Look closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.

Select appropriate resources and adapt work where necessary.

Review how well an approach worked.

Historical Enquiry


Key themes:







Understand use of objects.


Understand ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions.


Question why things happen and give explanation.


Answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.


Understand how to transport and store equipment safely.

Explain own knowledge and understanding and ask appropriate questions of others.



Know that information can be relayed in the form of print.


Know that print carries meaning.


Know that information can be retrieved from books and computers.

Order and sequence familiar events.

Comment and ask questions about aspects of their familiar world.


Know that information can be retrieved from computers.


Show curiosity about objects, events and people.


Uses senses to explore the world around them.


Pay attention to details.

Organisation and Communication


Key themes:







Use talk in pretending that objects stand for something else in play.


Use talk to connect ideas and explain what is happening.


Introduce a storyline or narrative into their play.


Link statements and stick to a main theme.


Develop their own explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Hold a pencil near point between first two fingers and use it with good control.


Copy some letters.


Use a pencil and hold it effectively to form recognisable letters.


Give meaning to marks as they draw and paint.


Use vocabulary and forms of speech that are increasingly influenced by their experience of books.


Write labels and captions.


Write simple sentences that can be read by themselves and others.

Record using marks that they can interpret and explain.

Talk about changes.


Select and use technology for particular purposes.

Understand that they can use lines to enclose a space, and then begin to use these shapes to represent objects.


Capture experiences and responses with a range of media.


Represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.



Plan, and make decisions about how to approach a task, solve a problem and reach a goal.

Key Stage 1 and 2


History in Action at Prince Bishops


Reception children shared memories of exciting times in their lives.

Year 1 created a personal timeline to explore their past.

We visited Binchester Roman Fort and learnt what life was like for the Romans in County Durham.

Year 4 dissected coprolite to identify organic remains and read clues to find out what the Romans ate.

Year 6 compared a range of sources identifying reliable, unreliable, bias and unbiased sources.