An online tool from WatchMeGrow

The Development Map is a mapping tool which shows children’s progress in a quick and informed way keeping the child at the centre, taking a holistic view of their learning and development over time in the EYFS.

The Development Map enables immediate, simple and effective analysis of a child’s progress from their starting points to their current level of achievement.


The Development Map is informed by your OBSERVATIONS of the child and all the information you gather as they play, talk, think and learn with you. Observations should include perspectives from parents and family and from the child themselves. Collectively this is your FORMATIVE assessment of the child.

As you map the child’s progress and collect all this FORMATIVE information you will want to stop off at certain intervals to make a SUMMATIVE analysis of how they are progressing and make sure that they are on track and developing well in all their areas of learning.

The Development Map is used to make these summative assessments for learning, it enables you to;

  • Use your informed judgement and knowledge of the child to make a quick summative evaluation of where they are in their developmental journey
  • Look at the child’s development in an holistic way and over time, so that you can see how one area of learning relates to another and also the progress they have made from one summative point to the next
  • Use your observations, learning stories and photographic snap shots to inform the judgements you make and as evidence of the child’s progress
  • Share the child’s learning, development and progress with parents in a clear and straightforward map illustrated with their learning stories
  • Make comparisons and analysis of the data to find out how well your children are progressing e.g. boys and girls, summer born children, SEND, children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL), children who are receiving the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and other important analytical factors
  • Use an assessment tool which respects the child and views all their learning as contributing to their development and which supports the professional judgement of practitioners
  • Track children’s progress to monitor the quality of provision and practice and inform visits from Ofsted, HMI, LA professionals and other partners. The Development Map can be used as a Quality Improvement Tool.

The Development Map Cycle

The Development Map cycle should be very familiar to everyone working in the Early Years Foundation Stage. It starts with observation then moves into assessment and planning and is explained in the EYFS Statutory Framework (2.1 p.13) but more clearly illustrated through the diagram in Development Matters (2012 p.4)

Mary Jane Drummond’s explanation of the cycle is probably one of the best you will ever find – it’s so good that New Zealand practitioners used this as their starting point for developing learning Stories;

‘When we work with young children, when we play and experiment and talk with them, when we watch them and everything they do, we are witnessing a fascinating and inspiring process: we are seeing them learn. As we think about what we see, and try to understand it, we have embarked on the process that in this book I am calling ‘assessment’. I am using the term to describe the ways in which, in our everyday practice, we observe children’s learning, strive to understand it, and then put our understanding to good use’. (1993, p.13)

As a cycle it looks like this……

The Development Map follows these principles and Statutory Duties whilst keeping children at the heart – recognising them as competent and capable thinkers and learners while using assessment processes which are respectful and ethical.

Development map Phase 1 will be available in April 2016. Please register your interest using the form below or contact us at to stay updated.