Lower School - Y1 to Y3
During the child’s time in the Lower School, they are encouraged to be active learners and good listeners. All children have special gifts and talents and our role is to encourage and develop their independence, curiosity and creativity.
Our teaching is tailored to meet the needs of each child and to nurture every child as an individual. The children are encouraged to discuss and investigate, always moving towards independent thought. We endeavour to give the children the skills to grow into caring, independent-thinking and well-balanced young people.
Our topic-based approach which includes many hands-on experiences, visitors and day trips, enriches the learning of our children. We aim to extend their knowledge as well as their understanding of others and the future world of which they will be a part. The happy and secure environment enables the children to flourish, as they move through the Lower School, knowing they have support and their achievements are valued. We endeavour to develop strong links with parents and children alike and positively encourage parents to play a major part in their child’s education and school life. All staff and children are encouraged to reach for the stars.
Alison Alderson, Head of Lower School
Years 1 & 2
Children in Years 1 and 2 are at school between 8.45am and 3pm and spend most of their time in their classroom, with their own form teachers and assistant, with subject specialist teachers for French, ICT, Music and PE, in other dedicated areas of the school. Learning is based around topics such as; homes and houses, under the ground, waters and rivers, space, the Victorians and trees and conservation, which allow for a rich integrated programme of study. The breadth of our curriculum means that children are given further opportunities to grow through Art, Drama and Dance. Our day trips are fully embedded within our curriculum giving the children reasons to want to write and draw to reflect the creative and investigative experiences they encounter on our trips.
Year 3 sees a transition, where children gain greater independence, as they begin a full working day (8am to 3.30pm) and their timetable takes them to subject classrooms around the school. The timetable is further enriched with Earth Studies, Drama, History and Geography, all taught by subject specialist teachers. For the first time, Year 3 children take part in competitive matches, with Under 8 fixtures regularly arranged against other local schools. Day trips continue in abundance, with visits to Brooklands, Compton Verney, Avebury and Kew Gardens. In the summer term, Year 3 embark on our unique Residential Trip programme, with a 3 day visit to East Sussex.
Year 1, 2 and 3 children and staff meet regularly to attend Lower School assembly, during which ‘My teacher is proud of me’ certificates are awarded and children’s birthdays celebrated. Certificates also presented that reflect our school core values of ‘Challenge, Discovery, Kindness, Confidence and Freedom to learn’. The assembly is introduced by the Head of Lower School and a member of staff and/or a class then leads the assembly. This getting together reinforces the identity of Lower School and the children enjoy singing and sharing ideas and experiences with each other.
Each year all children in the Lower School perform short dramas or presentations during our Lower School assemblies.
Everyone in Lower School takes part in our Lower School Production and Summer Celebration. Year One perform dance and songs as part of the show, with Year Two and Three taking the main speaking roles giving the children the opportunity to express their creative side as well as developing confidence to perform in front of an audience. We are fortunate to have an in house composer and playwright who designs a challenging script tailored to talents of each child.
Events for parents
We offer a number of evenings to inform our parents of current approaches to the teaching of literacy and maths as well as a transitions evening as your child moves through the Lower School. Parents’ evenings are held in the Autumn and Summer term to discuss your child’s progress. Written reports are sent home at Easter.
Events Photo Gallery
Within Lower school we believe that children learn best when they are actively engaged in their own learning. What better way to do that than to take their learning outside? When outdoors the children are more relaxed, confident and free to explore and extend their own learning. Communication and teamwork skills are enhanced alongside the children’s confidence, resilience, adaptability and creativity.
Outdoor Learning Photo Gallery
Our trips aim to make the child aware of the importance of issues in the world about them. They help the children to ‘discover’ by active learning processes and practical means as well as widening their general knowledge. They are a catalyst to inspire the children to find out more about topics at home taking them on exciting voyages of discovery.
The trips are fully integrated into the teaching and learning that takes place in the classroom. The concepts of our visits are introduced in wide variety of lessons. Each visit is the followed up and the children complete a trip diary account on return from the trip. The trip diary booklet is collated by the form teacher and kept a 'secret' until it is presented at the Lower School Summer Celebration concert to which all Lower School parents are invited annually.
Field trips, day trips and visits to the school by expert speakers, drama groups etc., play a very important part in Dolphin education. Through trips, the school aims to extend and enrich every child’s education. Day trips aim to give hands-on experience, allow opportunities for cross-curricular learning, give added value to subjects studied in the classroom and opportunities for differential learning and questioning. The children also learn how to absorb information in an environment outside their classroom and how to behave acceptably, both safely and socially, away from school. This training, both intellectual and social, is a vital preparation for the residential field trips on which they will embark from the end of Year 3.