Early Years

The Early Years at Dolphin School provide an enriching foundation to the wide curriculum of the main school, with its overall aim being to inspire a true love of learning in each child. This is achieved through having a Montessori ethos, providing diverse experiences for the children to learn from and having a very happy and secure environment for each child to learn in.

Our Nursery and Reception classes form our Early Years which is based in a dedicated area of the school. They are closely linked, ensuring a very smooth transition from one to the other with the children benefiting from the highly qualified and dedicated staff who develop individual learning programmes for each child.

Teaching and Learning

The atmosphere in our Early Years is exciting, colourful, orderly and inviting. The children work happily with care and competence. Curiosity and self-esteem in each child is built up through a structured hands-on learning programme. There are different themes for each term, integrated into which is a long-established programme of relevant day trips and visits.

Outdoor learning is promoted in numerous ways such as through our visits to our on site copse, the local woods, use of the main school gymnasium, playing fields and swimming pool during the summer term. In Nursery the children can flow freely between the indoor and covered outdoor areas for much of their day with planned, purposeful outdoor learning also being an important part of Reception.

Our greatest resource at Dolphin is our highly qualified and dedicated staff. They are flexible and enjoy the challenge of teaching, staying abreast of current developments in Early Years education. Our teachers are graduates and we have a Montessori-trained teacher in our team. Additionally, children benefit from specialist teaching in foreign languages, music and PE.

Not only do we value the development of the whole child, but we also realise that securing the foundations in literacy and numeracy is vital. The Nursery provides a wealth of opportunities to stimulate interest and starts to develop each child in these areas. The Reception teachers provide excellent phonics, literacy and numeracy programmes on a daily basis, which are fine-tuned to the individual child.

Children from the upper school regularly visit our Early Years to share skills, support and help to inspire the younger children, with our children also enjoying performing in or watching some of the shows and concerts led by the older children.

In the Early Years the children are encouraged to make their own decisions, with concentration, motivation and perseverance being highly valued. They learn to be independent thinkers who are ready to grasp the challenges and opportunities which Year One will provide.

 

The Early Years Stage of the school is term time only.

 

Nursery

The Nursery doors open at 8.45am with all children arriving by 9.00am. The day finishes at 3.00pm. Three, four or five day options are available with rising threes having the option of shorter days that finish at 1.00pm. All children in Nursery receive a hot, nutritious lunch. For details of Pre- and After School Care, please view our Extra Curricular page. Parents are encouraged to discuss their individual requirements on a termly basis.

Entry Process

Children can join our Nursery from the term they turn three and will move to Reception in the September of the academic year in which they turn five. The academic year is taken from 1st September. The children visit the school for a day during the term before they join, to familiarise themselves with the environment and the staff.

Trips

The school's unique trip programme begins in Nursery and ends in Year 8. Here the children visit places such as a mill, a farm, a vehicle workshop, a local library and they make regular use of a local forest. They also receive many talks from visitors throughout the year and spend time every week in the school's onsite copse.

Early Years - Reception

The Early Years at Dolphin School provide an enriching foundation to the wide curriculum of the main school, with its overall aim being to inspire a true love of learning in each child. This is achieved through having a Montessori ethos, providing diverse experiences for the children to learn from and having a very happy and secure environment for each child to learn in.

Our Nursery and Reception classes form our Early Years which is based in a dedicated area of the school. They are closely linked, ensuring a very smooth transition from one to the other with the children benefiting from the highly qualified and dedicated staff who develop individual learning programmes for each child.

Teaching and Learning

The atmosphere in our Early Years is exciting, colourful, orderly and inviting. Curiosity and self-esteem in each child are built up through a structured hands-on learning programme. There are different themes for each term, integrated into which is a long-established programme of interesting day trips and visits, that complement the learning at school.

Outdoor learning is promoted in numerous ways such as through our Forest Schools programme, outdoor learning cabin, use of the main school gymnasium, playing fields and swimming pool during the summer term. In Nursery the children can flow freely between the indoor and covered outdoor areas for much of their day with planned, purposeful outdoor learning also being an important part of Reception.

Our greatest resource at Dolphin is our highly qualified and dedicated staff. They are flexible and enjoy the challenge of teaching, staying abreast of current developments in Early Years education. All our Early Years teachers are either graduates or Montessori-trained, and one is also a Forest School leader. Additionally, children benefit from specialist teaching in foreign languages, music and PE. Children in Reception learn a term each of German, Spanish and French.

Not only do we value the development of the whole child, but we also realise that securing the foundations in literacy and numeracy is vital. The Nursery provides a wealth of opportunities to stimulate interest and starts to develop each child in these areas. The Reception teachers provide excellent phonics, literacy and numeracy programmes on a daily basis, which are fine-tuned to the individual child.

Children from the upper school regularly visit our Early Years unit to share skills, support and help to inspire the younger children, with Foundation children also enjoying performing in or watching some of the shows and concerts led by the older children.

In the Foundation stage the children are encouraged to make their own decisions, with concentration, motivation and perseverance being highly valued. They learn to be independent thinkers who are ready to grasp the challenges and opportunities which Year One will provide.

Reception

The day runs from 8.45am until 3.00pm with an Early Birds club, where breakfast is available from 7.45am and After School Care until 5.45pm. This does not need to be pre-booked. Children can choose to join after-school clubs, such as art or judo, if they wish.

Entry Process

Children enter our Reception in the September of the academic year in which they turn five. The academic year is taken from 1st September. The children visit the school for a day during the term before they join, to familiarise themselves with the environment and the staff.

Trips

Day trips in Reception include the Natural History Museum, the Bournemouth Aquarium, the Wokingham Fire Station, RHS Wisley, Dinton Pastures, Forest Schools programme and a local library.