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Dolphins (3-4 years)
Age:
3-4 years (approx)
Numbers: Maximum 32 children
Ratio of staff: 1:8


An increased interest in joint play such as make-believe, construction and games helps children to learn the important social skills of sharing and cooperating. Children also learn more about helping adults in everyday activities and finding a balance between independence and complying with the wishes of others. Children still need the comfort and security of special people. Close, warm relationships with carers form the basis for much learning, such as encouraging children to make healthy choices in food and exercise. At this stage children are becoming more aware of their place in a community. Literacy and numeracy can develop rapidly with the support of a wide range of interesting materials and activities. Children's language is now much more complex, as many become adept at using longer sentences. Conversations with adults become a more important source of information, guidance and reassurance.

Children begin to build a stronger sense of their own identity and their place in a wider world. Children are learning to recognise the importance of social rules and customs, to show understanding and tolerance of others, and to learn how to be more controlled in their own behaviour. Learning and playing in small groups helps to foster the development of social skills.

Children now become better able to plan and undertake more challenging activities with a wider range of materials for making and doing.

In this phase children learn effectively in shared activities with more able peers and adults. Literacy and problem solving, reasoning and numeracy skills continue to develop. Children's developing understanding of cause and effect is encouraged by the introduction of a wider variety of equipment, media and technologies.

Children are encouraged to participate in the wide variety of activities. The beginning of the day is an opportunity for group discussion, centred around the current topic and the day’s activities. The discussions encourage children to contribute to the topic planning which gives them an important feeling of involvement.

Activities include: early exploration, arts and crafts, information technology, story books and tapes, physical education, counting, sorting games and rhymes, comparison games, memory games, home corner are just some of the activities. By providing learning experiences that are not only stimulating but full of fun, we ultimately encourage children to enjoy themselves as they build on existing skills and develop new ones.

Carefully planned activities enable children to participate in number and counting games, pre-writing and pre-reading activities. Letter formation and recognition are being mastered at this stage. Topics are an ideal way to extend a child’s existing knowledge and introduce new concepts and information. We teach using phonics with flashcards. Pattern and shape tracing cards encourage confident pencil control.


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