About Us - Day Nursery in Daventry

Why choose us? Day Nursery in Daventry

It is well known that a child’s early years are some of the most important and form the building blocks for later life. Children at this age learn and develop quickly, and their future physical, social and educational prospects can be hugely influenced by these early years. Children learn through play, and to do this they need a stimulating, fun and secure environment where they are encouraged to try new things, but these are not forced upon them.

Here at our nursery we aim to create a home-from-home setting so that children quickly settle and concentrate on their fun play with their friends. We provide all the facilities and equipment you would expect, together with secure outdoor play areas to make the most of the fresh air. They will be able to run, climb, play and even get their hands muddy by planting, nurturing and growing flowers, fruit and vegetables. We have an indoor sensory room to stimulate their senses and immerse them in the varied lights, sounds, textures and smells that this brings.

We recognise the great responsibility that we have in caring for children and take this extremely seriously. We create a fun and welcoming atmosphere for children and parents by giving a great attention to detail and working hard to maintain high standards.

Our most recent Ofsted inspection once again provided us with an Outstanding award in all areas - a true reflection of all we aim to achieve here at Dolphin Day Nursery in Daventry.


Dolphin Day Nursery and Out of School Club, in in Daventry, was first opened by Caroline Wood in October 2006 from a much smaller premises nearby. The ethos and aims of the nursery back then were the same: to provide the best possible childcare for each and every child. Quite soon, the popularity of the nursery meant that we had outgrown our setting and we had aspirations to provide bigger and better facilities. It was then that a plan was put in place to build our very own setting a short distance away in the grounds of Falconers Hill Infants' School. Outside agencies soon believed in the ethos of the nursery and such confidence meant that the project was realised within 12 months. We now have our own purpose built premises, which is conveniently located, adjacent to the E:Act academy and Falconers Hill Infants' and Junior schools, with whom we have a close working relationship. The management team from 2006 is still in place and will be for many years and many of our staff remain with us from the early days.

We now find that babies who once came to us do so again but this time for our Out of School Club, and many siblings of children who came to us many years ago now share in the Dolphins experience.

Where are we?

Dolphin Day Nursery is conveniently located just off Ashby Road, a short distance north of the town centre. We are located within the grounds of Falconers Hill Infants' School and therefore close to Falconers Hill Junior School and the E:Act academy. We have the benefit of a large car park located off the busy Ashby Road (accessed via the Community Centre and Phoenix Centre site). This means that even when the schools are closed for the holidays you can still park your car near our front gate. For those using public transport, the regular services pass the nursery along Ashby Road and we can easily be reached on foot from one of the many housing estates located nearby.


As you would expect, the nursery is fully registered with Ofsted (for childcare at a non-domestic premises). Our unique reference number is EY399838. Our latest inspection was reported on the 31st July 2014 and we were provided with the highest possible grading of Outstanding in all of the assessment areas. These are:

  • The quality and standards of the early years provision
  • How well the early years provision meets the needs of the range of children who attend
  • The contribution of the early years provision to the well-being of children
  • The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the early years provision

In providing an Outstanding grading Ofted recognised that:

  • Strong, innovative leadership and management ensure that all practitioners have excellent opportunities to further their professional development. The staff working directly with the children share that they feel well supported by the management team;
  • Steps taken to safeguard and promote the children’s good health are robust. Staff comprehensively identify and successfully minimise potential risks. Their excellent knowledge of the signs of abuse and awareness of their responsibilities to protect children ensure that children in their care are fully safeguarded;
  • The nursery provides an excellent range of exciting activities, through which all children optimise their learning. Children make very strong progress across all areas as practitioners have an excellent understanding of how children learn through their play;
  • Sharply focused self-evaluation includes the views of all practitioners, professionals, parents, and children. This means that areas for improvement are clearly identified and swiftly acted upon;
  • The partnerships with parents and other early years professionals involved in the children’s care are extremely strong. Parents hold this nursery in very high regard.

A full copy of the Ofsted report is available to download from the Ofsted website at:


Our Staff

We are proud of our dedicated team of staff at Dolphin Day Nursery and only employ the best in the field. We have specialist instructors, teachers and co-coordinators from the local authority who visit the nursery to provide further assistance as and when required. We have two staff with degrees in Early Years which is the current highest qualification within the sector.

Training is very important to us and to our staff as we all feel it is very important to keep up to date and informed in all areas, but especially in early years. All staff have a professional development programme and regularly update their knowledge both with internal and external courses.

If you choose to enroll your child at Dolphin Day Nursery and Out of School Club you will have the opportunity to meet all of the team, regularly liaise with them regarding your child’s development, needs and happiness. We promote a partnership with parents and we are always exploring ways to strengthen our ability to share what we do with you. ​

Policies and Procedures

In all we have over 60 policies and procedures both for the Nursery and Out of School Club. These cover a wide range of aspects from registration and starting your child, to procedures around health and safety and food hygiene, behaviour, children’s rights, complaints, admissions and fees, safeguarding, parental partnerships, record keeping, children with additional needs and well-being.

We have a complete set of policies and procedures in the nursery which are always available, just ask the manager if you wish to read them.


Security is of paramount importance here at Dolphin Day Nursery and Out of School Club. We have systems in place to ensure that the children, staff and premises are totally secure at all times. Access into the grounds of the nursery is only possible once you have been identified at the gate by a member of staff. Once approved for entry. you are then let through to be met at the front door by a member of staff. We have additional security between the front reception area and the rest of the nursery whereby only existing parents and visitors under escort are allowed through. Anyone entering or working within the nursery other than these groups must be first fully CRB approved.

Diet and Nutrition

We treat good diet and nutrition very seriously at the nursery as we believe this helps to promote healthy development, which is so important in early years. We employ our own qualified cook who plans all menus with a healthy, balanced lifestyle in mind. Each meal is carefully thought out and our summer and winter menus rotate around a four-week cycle. All breakfasts, snacks, lunch and teas are freshly prepared on the premises each day. Hot meals are provided each day and the children are encouraged to try new and exciting foods.

As an extension of this, children are encouraged to adopt a healthy, natural lifestyle. Large amounts of time are spent outside in our beautiful garden. Our own vegetables are grown from seeds and harvested later by the children who are then helped to prepare food to eat and take home.

All meals are planned to be low in salt and sugar. Ingredients and produce are sourced locally whenever possible and children learn healthy lifestyle practices in all aspects of their daily routine.

Heatbeat Award

We are proud that we have been awarded the Heartbeat Award by Northamptonshire County Council for the work we do in promoting healthy lifestyles and providing healthy, balanced meals. The Northamptonshire Heartbeat Award is a nationally accredited award achieved by caterers who show continued commitment to customers by providing healthier food choices in a healthier environment.

The UK has one of the highest rates of heart disease and the most rapidly increasing rates of obesity in Europe. Eating a well-balanced, healthier diet, inside and outside the home, will contribute towards better heart health and help to reduce the risk of ill health. Eating out in an establishment with a Heartbeat Award will assist you in making healthy choices.

In order to gain the award, caterers must adopt healthier food preparation methods and offer healthy options on the menu. High standards of hygiene also have to be maintained. There are two award levels, standard and gold. In order to achieve the Gold award, Dolphin Day Nursery had to:

  • Have at least a '4' hygiene rating for food hygiene under the Food Hygiene Rating scheme
  • Comply with the appropriate nutritional assessment criteria for nurseries
  • Nutritional training to at least a level 2 standard for the manager/supervisor
  • Show basic allergy awareness
  • Have a documented Heartbeat management system in place

The nursery also holds the highest 5 star rating from Daventry District Council for good hygiene cooking practices.

  • Quality Improvement

In order to maintain the high standards at the nursery, various programmes are put in place to continually improve on what we do. Internally, policies and procedures are updated annually to ensure that in an ever changing sector the best practices are employed. Staff are continually appraised and are on a professional development programme to increase their knowledge and skills further.

Dolphin Day Nursery is also part of the Preschool Learning Alliance Quality Improvement scheme (Reflecting on Quality) and therefore is committed to improvement. This is an accredited status, which was awarded on 16th March 2012.

Dolphin Day Nursery is also working with the Best Practice principles of Investors in People with the aim of further improving performance. Already meeting the core principles, the nursery will now be aiming to achieve Bronze status for this much respected award.

  • Trips (Country Park, Seaworld, Zoo, Everdon)

Here at Dolphin Day Nursery and Out of School Club we recognise that although we have excellent opportunities within the nursery setting, the children will benefit from wider experiences. We therefore plan regular trips outside of the nursery setting to explore our near and far environments. Regular trips include those to the country park, play area, local library and town centre. We also plan trips to educational establishments such as Everdon Outdoor Learning Centre just outside Daventry. This outdoor learning service offers a wide range of outdoor activities for young children. All the activities are led by their experienced and qualified rangers and offer an exciting way to introduce children to nature and the environment. In the summer months, some trips are often planned further afield for the older children. Trips have included visits to SeaWorld Birmingham, Woburn Safari Park, Salcey Forest, Ash End Children’s Farm and Twycross Zoo and to fruit picking sites.

  • External Sessions

We are always looking for new and exciting experiences which we can provide to the children, and some of these are provided by external groups who come into the setting. We work closely with parents to choose activities that most benefit the children and they always look forward to these sessions. Examples of groups we have had to come and visit us in the last year include Zoolab (where we met some creepy crawlies and slithery snakes), yoga, music, movement instructors, and Kidsactive – a football related movement and exercise class.

  • Starfish Room (0 – 2s)

Our Starfish room is where many children first experience time at Dolphin Day Nursery, as here we accept children from 3 months to 2 years. Within this room, children will get the chance to learn through play and exploration whilst having many opportunities to experience different activities and methods of play.

Different activities and experiences are planned each day and regular observations of the children are made in the following areas of development:

Well-being and Involvement

The children’s well-being is paramount to us here at Dolphin Day Nursery.To ensure we monitor your child’s well-being, we have a column to gauge their well-being and involvement levels from ages 1-5. The children also have a well-being pack where they draw a picture of themselves, have height measured and their weight taken. There is also opportunity for children to express how they are feeling.


When your baby is not sleeping they will spend most of their time gazing into your eyes and the surrounding area. We encourage this here at Dolphins by having a varied and colourful surrounding environment, including suitable characters on walls. We use plenty of red, white and black within the nursery as these are the colours your child will see first.

The babies and toddlers will also get a chance to get messy in paint, custard and a whole other range of creative liquids. In this room, we will also be doing lots of listening to nursery rhymes and sounds, mark marking with a variety of tools and enjoying music and movement.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Children in the Starfish room will be taking their first steps towards their own personal, social and emotional goals by mixing with other children of a similar age, learning their routine with the other children and through experiencing a variety of emotions (like happy and sad).

At Dolphins, we help the babies and toddlers develop these skills by having baby pictures in the room in black and white, sharing games like pass the ball, exploring with different textures and materials, having objects to explore with their different senses and also introducing them to different social situations.

Physical Development

The Baby and Toddler Starfish Room has a soft carpet and a variety of soft cushions available to explore and play with. When they start to crawl and walk, there is enough internal and external space for them to explore at will, at their own pace. Soon their inquisitiveness will develop and they will explore their own environment whilst refining and increasing muscle strength.


As the Starfish room is for the babies and toddlers aged 0-2 years, it is important for the staff to make the transition from parent/home life into the room as easy and comfortable as possible for both the child and parents. We have a variety of ways to gradually do this and look forward to your cooperation in making the transition as smooth as possible.

As the children get older we will also start to visit the other children and staff in the adjacent Seahorse room to help Starfish children gain familiarity for their upward move. Through these experiences, we hope that the transition is seamless and reduces any stress as much as possible.

Seahorse Room (2 – 3s)

Once children reach the age of 2 then they move up to our adjacent Seahorse Room which accepts children aged between 2 and 3. The transition period between the Starfish and Seahorse rooms will last a few weeks where the children are gradually introduced to the new surroundings, staff and other children. Often, a group of children will move up together, thus making the new room more familiar to them.

Children will get the opportunity to learn through play and exploration.

Within this room the children will have opportunities to experience many different activities and methods of play in many different ways.These areas of learning and development form only a proportion of a child’s overall learning, development and care skills based on the Early Years Foundation Stage Principles which are displayed on a poster in each room.


Different activities and experiences will be planned each day through observations of the children and these will cover the following areas of development.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

This area of development is all about the children’s self-esteem, self-confidence, ability to form relationships, behaviour, self-control and self-care.

To help the children develop in this area we will be doing role play, circle time, looking at photos, giving the children some independence to help them progress with self-care, exploring with different textures and materials, providing things to explore with their senses and also introducing them to different situations to help them progress.

Communication, Language and Literacy

This area of development is all about the children’s communication, mark making and language for thinking. To help the children develop in this area, we will be doing activities such as using exploration trays for mark making, looking at stories, singing songs, mark making in many ways and listening to different songs throughout the day. Free flow role play may also encourage communication.

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy

This area of development is all about the children’s skills in problem solving, learning simple nursery rhymes and counting actions. To help the children develop in this area we will be doing lots of construction, basic puzzles, water and container work, number rhymes, role play and activities, enabling the children to become independent.

Knowledge and Understanding

This area of development is all about the children’s exploration, investigation, knowledge of routines and ICT skills.

To help the children develop in this area we will be doing lots of activities involving creating things, electronic toys, working with bubbles, exploring with different materials, water play, computers, taking pictures, looking at pictures, working through the daily routines, outdoor play and working with things you can take apart and put back together. We will also be making regular visits to the sensory room to explore and investigate with the sensory items.


This area of development is all about the children’s knowledge of colours, exploration of materials, mark making, role play, music, dance and model-making skills. To help the children develop in this area we will be doing lots of dancing to different music, mark making, creating models and collages, singing, role play, painting, chalking, drawing, exploring the outdoors and much more.


As the Seahorse room is for children between the ages of 2-3 years we will be interacting with both the Starfish room (0-2 years) and the Mermaids room (3-5 years). For the purpose of helping the children settle more easily with each transition from room to room, we will be having visits from children in the Starfish room who are getting ready to move up, and we will also be visiting the Mermaids room with the children who will be moving up to that room.

Outdoor play area

Our outdoor play area will be free flow at most times throughout the day and we will ensure that we have staff both inside and out to cater for the children’s learning and safety. This area will also give the children a chance to interact with children from the Mermaids room (3-5 years) as the outdoor area will be shared with that particular room.

Well-being and Involvement

Children's well-being is paramount to us here at Dolphin Day Nursery and Dolphin Club.To ensure we monitor your child’s well-being we have a column to gauge their well-being and involvement levels from ages 1-5. The children also have a well-being pack where they draw a picture of themselves, have their height measured and weight taken. There is also opportunity for children to express how they are feeling.

  • Mermaid Room (3 – 5s)

The Mermaid pre-school room is the last room the children will attend between ages 3 and 5 before moving on to school.

In the Mermaid room, we work to the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, which encompasses the seven areas of learning – Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Communication and Language; Literacy; Maths; Understanding of the World; Physical Development; and Expressive Arts and Design. We do this by providing a stimulating and interesting environment that allows the child to learn through their experiences both indoors and outdoors, encouraging them to learn from each other as well as from the adults.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

This area concentrates on the child’s well-being, self-esteem, how they form relationships with adults and peers, and self-care. We aim to encourage positive behaviour and self control. We will do this through circle games, circle times and group activities. Children will also be experiencing working together and taking turns, thinking about how to respect each other and each others' possessions. This will be done by having Show and Tell times and bringing in items of interest.

Communication and Language

This vital early skill which will stand you in good stead for the rest of your child’s life. This area concentrates on the child’s communication, whether this takes place by verbal communication, gestures or expressions. We will extend the children’s vocabulary by asking them to talk about the activities they have participated in and asking open ended questions that allow each child to expand on the answers previously given. Children are often very inquisitive and become active learners. Children will be given opportunity to communicate with other peers and adults. To increase their communication skills, we have a teddy which goes around the circle giving each child the opportunity to talk, express their views and discuss their adventures. We also work with a speech therapist to help the children form sounds, letters and hone their general communication skills. We have children who have English as a second language, whom we work with to develop their language ability both individually and as a group.


We will also be linking sounds and letters through phonic sessions and games, encouraging the children to name letters and introduce them to CVC words using picture props. Children are given opportunities to view different types of print within the nursery environment, from signs, different books, magazines, and cards.They learn through stories, rhymes, poems, rhyming words, and phonics.

Children will be encouraged to explore all areas of writing whilst in Mermaid room, from making lists in the home corner, to role play, to making labels for the drawers and baskets that hold the room’s equipment. Children will be able to share books with the adults and their friends, and be introduced to fiction and non-fiction books.They will also be able to take home books to share with their family.


This area concentrates on children working with numbers, counting, sorting and matching with shape, space and measures. Children will be given time to learn mathematical language and practice this through their play (both indoors and outdoors), by counting how many children are present during the register, counting to the number of the day’s date and by discovering things about shapes and patterns in the local environment. Children will also begin to understand sequencing by learning the days of the week and the months of the year. Learning will take place in water play, sand play, number rhymes, stories and games.

Understanding of the World

This area concentrates on children finding out about the world in a number of ways. This includes what they learn from family, friends and the things they see and hear. They will be investigating the natural world, discovering the changing seasons and noticing how things change, (especially themselves) by thinking and talking about special events in their lives. This will be done by looking at photographs of the past and the present and predicting what may happen next. We will invite visitors in who work in the local community such as firemen and policemen, to talk to the children about their roles. We will also visit places locally, for example, the library and the convenience store. Children will also learn how to use technology such as computers, printers, digital cameras and programmable toys.

Physical Development

This area concentrates on children’s movement and health, using small and large equipment. Movement will include large movements such as running and climbing and small movements such as how they use scissors and writing implements. These activities will take place both indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions. Children will also investigate how their body reacts to exercise and how we can stay healthy, through eating healthily and having a good hygiene routine. We also have groups come into the setting to provide different experiences such as yoga, ball skills, music and movement.

Expressive Arts and Design

This area concentrates on expressing ideas, exploring media, music and dance and developing the children’s imagination. Children will discover how differently they respond to similar experiences and how they express themselves. This can be through music, dance or painting. The children will participate in music and movement activities and be introduced to music from around the world. Children will also be experimenting with joining different media together to make collages and 3D models. Having different role play scenarios in the home corner will help the children develop their imagination and encourage them to play together co-operatively. The children will learn to act out stories and rhymes. The children get to explore different media from salt dough, clay, play dough, paint, sand and water-based materials.

The Mermaid children will also be interacting with older children. They will have the opportunity to interact with the children who attend The Dolphin Club, especially from the Breakfast Club and After School Club on a regular basis.

Children have opportunities for child and adult led activities. We like the children to become independent, explore, investigate, and learn through play with the varied opportunities given. We look at the children’s interests and incorporate them into their learning.We identify and work on each child’s individual needs.

  • Dolphin Out of School Club (4 – 11)

Our Dolphin Out of School Club, or Dolphins for short, welcomes school age children aged from 4-11 years. Here we provide breakfast, after school and holiday care for children from local Daventry schools. Within this room children will get the chance to explore the following 16 play types:

  • Symbolic Play - play which allows control, gradual exploration and increased understanding without the risk of being out of one’s depth
  • Rough and Tumble Play – close encounter play which includes touching, tickling, gauging relative strength and discovering physical flexibility and the exhilaration of display
  • Socio-dramatic Play – the enactment of real and potential experiences of an intense personal, social, domestic or interpersonal nature
  • Social Play – play during which the rules and criteria for social engagement and interaction can be revealed, explored and amended
  • Creative Play – play which allows a new response, the transformation of information, awareness of new connections, with an element of surprise
  • Communication Play – play using words, nuances or gestures for example, mime, jokes, play acting, mickey taking, singing, debate, poetry
  • Dramatic Play – play which dramatizes events in which the child is not a direct participator
  • Deep Play – play which allows the child to encounter risky or even potentially life threatening experiences, to develop survival skills and conquer fear
  • Exploratory Play – play to access factual information consisting of manipulative behaviours such as handling, throwing, banging or mouthing objects
  • Fantasy Play – play which rearranges the world in the child’s way, a way which is unlikely to occur
  • Imaginative Play – play where the conventional rules, which govern the physical world, do not apply
  • Locomotor Play – movement in any or every direction for its own sake
  • Mastery Play – control of the physical and affective ingredients of the environments
  • Object Play – play which uses infinite and interesting sequences of hand-eye manipulations and movements
  • Role Play – play exploring ways of being