Dolphins (0-2 year olds)
Our Dolphin room accommodates children from 6 weeks to around 24 months. It is an open and spacious environment with a range of open ended resources for babies to explore as they please. Everything is accessible to them to promote, as early as possible, independence and their own identities!
In the Dolphin Room
Our under 2 environment is split into three main areas; the first room has a range of resources to help babies early development across the seven areas of learning. They include items for constructing such as small logs and magnets, a music corner with a range of different sounds and sand and messy areas to explore textures and marks. The middle room is our lunch room and is equipped with age appropriate furniture to support children’s mealtime routines, and our back room is a carefully designed sensory area with lights, sounds, textures and mirrors to allow babies sensory sides to develop! Everything within the environment has been carefully selected based on our secure knowledge of how babies learn.
Children also have access at any time to our garden area, where staff have an ‘outdoor box’ to ensure there is a good mix of resources to support different levels of baby’s development. Drapes are used to develop areas of shading so our babies can stay cool in the shade on hot days, or keep us dry in our wetsuits when it rains! Babies also go further afield on outings to the local soft plays and sensory rooms, explore public transport systems and discover early literacy through picture books at the library. When we go out to different places, we minimise our normal ratio of 1 adult to every 3 babies even further to ensure the best supervision and interactions.
Dolphin Room Routines and Staff
Care routines are extremely important to us here at West Park Kindergarten and we want to ensure our environment gives that home from home feel and provides consistency for the child. Keyworkers pinpoint key information by working closely with all of our parents/carers regarding routines, likes and dislikes, implementing these individually for each child. A buddy key worker system ensures this information is shared between Dolphin practitioners and therefore things the remain the same even in their absence. Each staff know not only their own children’s development and next steps for progression, but the children of other key workers too!
Having strong, experienced staff within our Dolphin room is crucial in providing the correct support for such a young group of children. Each member of staff in this environment is checked regularly by management to ensure they are correct for the role. Our staff have experience working with such young babies behind them and specialised training, such as Safeguarding for Immobile Babies and Sing and Sign, that helps inform their precise knowledge to work with young children. We start to monitor Communication and Language development through ECAT (‘Every Child’s a Talker’) to ensure they are steps in place for our future keyworkers to start using single words in the toddler room.
Tapestry Learning Journals
To record children’s learning and development we use an online platform called ‘Tapestry.’ This is a secure programme which is designed for parents/carers to be able to view/contribute to their child’s personal file. This helps us to keep consistency from learning and opportunities are able to be built upon within any environment, home or nursery.