Lower School Header photo resized and cropped

Pre Prep - Nursery to Year 2

During a child’s time in the Pre Prep (Nursery to Year 2), 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.

Years 1 & 2

Children in Years 1 and 2 are at school between 8.40am and 3.10pm, spending the majority of their time in their bespoke classrooms, with their own form teachers and teaching assistants. They are also fortunate to have specialist subject teachers for French, Art, Music, Drama, Dance, Forest School 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, Dance and Forest School. 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.


Each year all children in our pre-prep perform short drama pieces or presentations during our assemblies. For example, Year 1 deliver a performance in the Autumn term to demonstrate their art and science learning.

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 Pre-prep and into Year 3.  Parents’ evenings are held in the Autumn and Summer terms to discuss your child’s progress. Written reports are sent home at Easter.

In Years 1 and 2, 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? This is something we do whenever the opportunity arises. 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.

Our trips make our children 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. Trips and excursions are a catalyst to inspire the children to find out more about topics at home too, taking them on exciting voyages of discovery. Trips are fully integrated into the teaching and learning that takes place in the classroom.  Each visit is then followed up and the children complete a trip diary account on return from their adventure away from school.  The trip diary booklet is collated by the form teacher and kept a 'secret' until it is presented at the Summer Celebration concert, to which all Year 1 and 2 parents are invited.

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 appropriately in an alternative environment, away from school.  This training, both intellectual and social, is a vital preparation for the wonderful residential field trips which they will enjoy from the end of Year 3.