Age 3 years +

About the Dolphin room

The Dinosaur group is run by 2 main staff with support at lunch times.

The Dinosaur age group is 3-4 year olds and we have a capacity of 16 children with a 1 staff to 8 children ratio.

At this age we support children in choosing activities of their liking and can choose the resources they need for their activities. The children are encouraged and supported to be confident in speaking in a familiar group, and saying when they do or do not need help.

Our daily routine

8am-10am – All groups mix downstairs where we have a selection of resources set up to play. The children can choose to play indoors or garden.

9.00am–9.30am: Small groups are taken upstairs for breakfast in the dining room, where either cereal or toast and fruit is offered.

10am-11.40am: Dinosaur group begin their focus play session. We offer a selection of activities to cover the areas of learning in the EYFS based on the children’s interests.

11.40am–11.50am: Toilet time and washing hands before lunch.

1 1.50am-12.00pm: Circle time or story.

12.00pm–12.30pm: Lunch time in dining room.

12.30pm–2.40pm: Free play session indoor or outdoor.

2.40pm-3pm: Toilet and washing hands before snack time. Circle time or story.

3pm– 3.30pm: snack time in dinosaur room.

3.30pm–5.30pm: Dinosaur group begin their focus play session. We offer a selection of activities to cover the areas of learning in the EYFS based on the children’s interests.

5.30pm–6pm: All groups mix downstairs for free play indoor or outdoor until parents arrive.


Key Person

Our role as a key person consists of having 8 children each; we build respectful and caring relationships with all children and families showing sensitivity towards feelings, ideas and behaviour while focusing on learning and achievement. We take the child’s lead from what they say or do and respond appropriately to encourage and extend curiosity and learning. In the first 6 weeks of settling in we concentrate on building key person relationships, relationships with peers and observe and listen to discover what children like to do or when they need help or support.

A good key person relationship will encourage children to respond positively to challenges and feel confident to try new things. Children become independent by being able to depend upon key person for reassurance and comfort.


We have a weekly environment plan to ensure we cover all the areas of learning indoors and outdoors whilst also following the children’s interest. The areas of learning consist of Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language, Physical Development, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.

We have a weekly group focus plan which involves the adult guided activities to cover the early learning outcomes.

Every week each staff focuses on a child and plans a focus activity for them. We plan for the focus activity based on recent observation of the child and also feedback from parents.

We have a term plan which covers our main themes, for example the first term will focus on settling new children in the group and preparing for the Christmas play.


Book bag day on Tuesday

As part of partnership with parents we would like all parents to take part in bringing in book bags every Tuesday. On Tuesday we take out our special book bag boxes which children are able to look through and we pick a book together for their book bags. We will provide a reading record book inside the book bag so you can write down which book was taken out and your thoughts on the book.

Reading aloud to your child is an important bonding experience and develops language and communication skills. At Minik Kardes we have a variety of bilingual books, popular reading books, classic tales etc. If you would like to choose a book with your child for their book bag please feel free to do so when collecting your child at the end of the day.


Show and tell on Wednesday

Every Wednesday we have a ‘show and tell’ day where children bring an object from home to talk about with the group. This gives the children an opportunity to share their object with peers, gain confidence talking to their peers and provides a link with home. Show and tell is a rich learning opportunity for children to develop their language and listening skills, confidence, responsibility of taking care of theirs and others possessions and also sharing with their peers.

The children are asked to bring in one small object from home on Wednesdays only please; this enables our show and tell day to be a special day. The children and parents have the responsibility of putting their object in their bags in the morning; Minik Kardes staff are not responsible for lost or broken toys.

A reminder to parents; bring an object small enough to fit in their bags and please do not bring anything of great value.


Our learning environment

We have a long focus play session of 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon to ensure children have time and freedom to become deeply involved in activities. In these sessions we have a balance of child initiated activities and adult planned or guided activities.

In our room we give age appropriate challenges for the children for example in our art unit which children have free access to, however this is a manageable risk as they are child safe scissors, we have placed the art unit near the art table, and we remind and show children how to transport and use scissors safely.

We celebrate children’s achievements through positive praise or by taking a photo of their work, hanging up their work or by putting their work on our display table. This builds children’s pride in their work and efforts, confidence and their willingness to try new or difficult things.

Home corner

In this area we provide stimulating resources which are accessible and open-ended so they can be used, moved and combined in a variety of ways. In this areas we encourage children to role play, make links to home and build friendships by playing in small groups. We have a variety of dolls and soft toys, kitchen accessories, dressing up clothes and shoes, baby accessories and hairdressing accessories, doctor’s sets, shopping and office play resources. We also have our family wall display in this area.

Art/Creative/literacy area

We provide new and unusual media for children to explore enabling the children to be more deeply involved in their chosen activity. We have a variety of gluing and sticking resources, drawing and painting resources, playdough, clay and messy/malleable resources to arouse children’s curiosity. In this area we encourage children’s fine motor physical development, creativity, concentrating on an individual activity, mark making and early writing such as forming some recognisable letters.

Book corner/ICT area

We provide a variety of stimulating books the children can look through independently or with an adult. We have big books, flap books, bilingual books, interactive books, humorous books, popular children’s books and classic tales. We also make books about the children in our group for example a book about outings we have been on or a book of stories children have created. The book corner is designed to be a visually calming and quiet area of the room where children can develop their interest in books, relax and look at books at their leisure.

We have ICT in all areas of our room, such as calculators, tills, electronic toy blender/toaster/kettle, digital timers, push button toys etc. We provide age appropriate software on the computer, interactive smart board and LeapPad which cover many aspects of the EYFS; we have programmes on literacy and phonics, numeracy and measuring, the world etc.


Construction corner

We have a large construction area with a variety of construction and small world toys such as wood blocks, train tracks, car tracks, Lego, vehicles, animals, dinosaurs etc. Having a large construction space enables children to have the creative freedom to build in the way they want. Sometimes we may even move our square tables to extend this area. In this area children are encourage to explore, build and create models and structures, role play iand play in small groups.

Water tray/messy play

We provide a variety of resources relevant to the children’s interests, such as babies and accessories to wash, sea creatures, different sizes of bottles for measuring etc. We also set up messy activities in this area such as jelly, snow, sand and water mix, corflour mix. Providing various messy play activities develops children’s exploration such as finding out what they can do with the different media and what happens when they put different things together such as sand and water. We encourage children to notice and talk about the changes in properties of media as they are transformed through becoming wet, dry, flaky or fixed and asking what is happening, helping them to think about cause and effect. Messy play is an open ended activity which can be used in a variety of ways such as imaginary play, using cornflour with kitchen accessories for cooking role play.

Garden time

Garden access is an important part of children’s learning and development. We offer regular daily garden access for our children. In the mornings up till 10am and afternoons from 5.30pm all children in the nursery have opportunities to access the garden. Opportunities to mix with younger children will help develop our children’s understanding of awareness, safety and taking care of others.

After lunch when the other groups are asleep the dinosaur group are able to free flow in and out doors and have exclusive access to the garden, we call ‘non sleeper time’. This enables our children to have a in depth outdoor play session with stimulating resources relevant to their age and to take risks and explore the outdoor environment.


Tidying up

After each play session the children are given the task of tidying away the activity they played with. Recognisable and predictable routines such as tidy up time help children to predict and make connections in their experiences. Children enjoy responsibility of carrying out small tasks, they welcome and values praise for what they have done. We encourage children to be responsible for small tasks in various ways such as serving their food at lunch time, helping set up an activity or the lunch room, serving water for their peers at snack time, helping their peers etc. Giving children responsibility helps develop their confidence and belief in themselves and independence.

Spare clothes

Could all parents please aim to provide at least 4 complete outfits for their children due to children getting wet/soiled from toileting or messy play activities.

A complete outfit consists of

  • top
  • bottom (jeans, trousers, leggings, tracksuit bottoms)
  • vest
  • knickers/pants
  • socks/tights
  • If possible a spare pair of shoes would be appreciated.


At Minik Kardes we have two annual trips for the whole nursery. We also plan trips for our own group such as visiting Little Angel’s puppet theatre, Jackson lane theatre at Christmas time, China town for Chinese New Year celebrations Olympic park. We also go out to local areas such as local parks, library, supermarket and outdoor market.

To enable regular outings it is important we have support from parent to attend trips, as we prefer to have a higher ratio of 1 adult for 2/3 children when going out and unfortunately may have to cancel if not enough parents attend.

Risk taking

In the dinosaur group we plan and provide a safe and secure environment where children can challenge themselves, take risks and explore. We encourage children to try new activities and to judge risks for themselves; we always respect children’s efforts and ideas so they feel safe to take a risk with a new idea. Children can try things out, solve problems and be creative and can take risks and use trial and error to find things out. Some examples of risk taking are using scissors for cutting, kitchen utensils for cooking, knives for making our tea time sandwiches, using the large blocks and ramps to make towers, bridges and obstacle courses, climbing frames and slides, large soft play blocks for climbing and jumping.


Letters and Sounds is a national teaching strategy of early reading. In the dinosaur group we focus on phase one of letters and sounds which concentrates on children’s listening and speaking skills. We teach phonics through letters and sounds games to stimulate children’s interest and excitement in early reading. We teach letters and sounds in two ways; through the games provided in the national strategy and also through Boogie Mites sessions where children learn through music, instruments, dance and singing.

Phase one of Letters and Sounds covers seven aspects, these include;

  1. Environment sounds,
  2. Instrument sounds,
  3. Body percussion,
  4. Rhyme and rhythm,
  5. Alliteration,
  6. Voice sounds,
  7. Oral blending and segmenting.

These aspects help children to tune into sounds, listen and remember sounds, and talk about sounds.

We provide activities within the seven aspects which are designed to help children:

  1. Listen carefully.
  2. Increase their vocabulary.
  3. Speak confidently to adults and other children.
  4. Tell apart letter sounds.
  5. Copy the letter sounds they hear, in order, all through the word.
  6. Use sound-talk to segment words into letter sounds.


We teach mathematics by playing small group adult lead number and shape games and by having a number and shape rich environment. For example on our book shelf we have number and shape related books that children can have free access to. We have interactive number line displays. In our toy and art units we have free access to numbers and shape magnets, construction toys, counters and pattern toys to develop awareness of counting, number recognition, shapes and sequencing. In our water tray we can various size containers and scales which we use to develop understanding of space and measuring. We plan small group number or shape games for example singing number songs and using props and numerals, or searching for shapes in the environment.

Some examples of our learning outcomes for Mathematics are:


  • Recites number names in order to 10
  • Realises not only objects, but anything can be counted
  • Sometimes matches numerals and quantity correctly
  • Recognises numerals 1 to 5
  • Counts objects to 10, and beginning to count beyond 10

Shape, Space and Measure

  • Shows interest in shape by sustained construction activity .
  • Beginning to talk about the shapes of everyday objects, e.g. ‘round’ and ‘tall’
  • Selects a particular named shape
  • Orders two or three items by length or height
  • Uses everyday language related to time

Important links:

EYFS – Development Matters


Letters and sounds