Question 1: How do I get in touch with the Dolphins? You can contact us either via email using the contact us section of this website. You could telephone us – our dedicated number at the Pavilion is (01273) 500513. Please use this number if it is imperative that you speak with us while your child is in session or to inform us if your child will be absent due to illness (our preference is for you to use Studybugs). Lengthy phone calls during sessions take a member of staff away from caring for your children. Alternatively you could visit us by dropping in to see us at our setting at the Pavilion in the Nevill Recreation Ground, (off Eridge Road), HOVE, BN3 7QD. You can also send us a letter – the mailing address is 34 Welbeck Avenue, HOVE BN3 4JN (we cannot receive post at the Pavilion).
Question 2: How does my child obtain a place at the Dolphins? Places at Dolphins are highly sought-after and we usually have a waiting list for places in the current term. Places generally fill up rapidly for future terms. We strongly advise parents to visit the Dolphins website and complete the online Application Form. There is a non-refundable registration fee payable to secure a place. In exceptional circumstances, we may accept enrolment in person, by post or over the telephone.
Question 3: What clothing should my child wear to the Dolphins? In the course of their “messy play” and developing independence in using the toilet, Dolphins children should not be worried about spoiling their clothes. We have a uniform of a fleece and T-shirt bearing the Dolphins logo. Trousers, skirts and other clothing should be simple and without elaborate fastenings such as braces or zips. Please avoid sending girls to school wearing long peasant skirts as they get caught up in the bikes and are not suitable for independence at toilet time. Open-toed sandals are not appropriate footwear and you should also avoid shoes with laces unless your child can tie them independently. All footwear should be suitable for climbing, running, skipping, cycling etc. To enable them to make the most of their outdoor play, children should bring a warm jacket and waterproof clothes every day. Please mark all removable garments, footwear and sun hats with your child’s name. Every Dolphins child is given two laminated name-tags, one for self registration and the other to identify items on your child’s cloakroom peg.
Question 4: What happens if my child is still in nappies? Children brought to Dolphins sessions should be clean and dry. In the event of any “little accidents” during the course of a session, we will change the child’s clothing, as required. Depending on the toilet training status of your child, you should provide a change of clothes in a named bag to be left on your child’s cloakroom peg. If your child is still in nappies, you must provide spare nappies, wipes and nappy sacks in a named bag to enable us to change them when necessary.
Question 5: What arrangements are made for Food and Drink? Snacks are taken during free-flow snack time (mid morning) with adult supervision. Parents are asked to bring a suitable healthy snack in a labelled container taking account of any special dietary needs. Please avoid cartons or pouches of juice as these are inevitably squirted around and any little choking hazard “tops” must be removed at home. Children attending all-day and afternoon sessions should bring their own lunch in a named lunchbox. We are unable to refrigerate the children’s lunch so please include an ice-pack in the container to ensure that perishable food remains fresh. As part of Dolphin’s policy on healthy eating, we do not allow chocolate, sweets or fizzy drinks in lunchboxes. Whole grapes, olives, cherry tomatoes, blueberries etc. present a choking hazard for young children. If you include them in your child’s lunchbox then please ensure that you cut them up length ways. Chewing gum is also a choking hazard for young children and is not allowed at Dolphins. Children are entitled to one-third of a pint of milk a day and this is offered at one of their sessions. Water is available and provided as necessary. All children should also bring a flask (clearly labelled with your child’s name) of clean drinking water every day.
Question 6: What happens if my child is unwell? Generally, children who are not feeling well should not attend Dolphins and you should notify us without delay via our dedicated system to let us know if your child will not be attending. Children who are suffering from certain conditions including those who have had a bout of sickness/diarrhoea should not return to Dolphins until 48 hours after their condition has cleared-up. If your child has an infectious disease should notify us as soon as possible so that we may alert other parents, as necessary. In event of your child becoming infested with head-lice, this condition must be treated before the child returns to pre-school. Parents who ask Dolphins staff to administer prescribed medicine (or in some cases over-the-counter medication) to their children must complete our Instruction to Administer Medicine Form. Staff are trained in Paediatric First Aid and in the event of your child becoming unwell while at Dolphins we will use our judgement to phone you to come and take your child home or we will comfort your child until you arrive at the end of the session. In a medical emergency, we would of course telephone for an ambulance.
Question 7: What happens if my child is absent from Dolphins? If you plan to go on holiday during term time then please notify us without delay as this information has to be recorded. If your child is unwell or will be absent for any other reason than please contact us to let us know as all absences have to be explained in the daily register sheet. Please note that Brighton and Hove City Council, who administer Government funding (see question 8 below), reserves the right to reclaim funding from parent(s)/carer(s) in the event of child non-attendance.
Question 8: How do I obtain a free place for my child? All three and four year olds are entitled to government funding for up to 15 hours per week during our term time. Such funding will apply in the term following the child’s 3rd birthday. So if your child’s 3rd birthday falls in the period 1st April to 31st August you will be eligible for free funding in the following Summer Term; if your child’s 3rd birthday falls in the period 1st September to 31st December, you will be eligible for free funding in the following Spring Term; if your child’s 3rd birthday falls in the period 1st January to 31st March, you will be eligible for free funding in the following Summer Term. As a recognised Early Years provider under this scheme which is financed through Brighton and Hove City Council, Dolphins will put in place all necessary administration arrangements on your behalf to enable you to claim your free funding. At the start of each funding period you will be required to confirm how many hours you are claiming and whether you are also claiming from another Early Years provider. The free funding will then be paid directly to us by Brighton and Hove City Council provided certain conditions are met, including on-time attendance with no periods of absence by your child. Should you require further information about free funding then the telephone number for Brighton & Hove Family Information Service is 01273 293545. Although such funding is “free” to parents, it does not fully cover our costs but the regulations preclude us from charging “top-up” fees. However, we do charge for any hours in excess of 15 hours per week. Some children qualify for an extra 15 hours of free childcare per week (making a total entitlement of 30 hours a week). Full details can be found in the Parents Handbook & Agreement.
Question 9: What happens if I am late collecting my child? The Dolphins takes the issue of lateness in collecting children very seriously. The Children’s Act 1989 imposes a duty of care on Pre-Schools to protect children and to act in their best interests. If parents are unavoidably delayed due to an emergency they must endeavour to contact the Pre-School to say that they will be late collecting their child and to arrange what action should be taken by the Pre-School to look after the child in the interim.
If the parent has not telephoned us to alert us to an unavoidable delay, then Dolphins staff will take the following actions: 1) Two Dolphins staff members will remain with the child 2) Staff will telephone all the numbers given on the child’s registration card 3) If there is no response, then a member of staff will go to the child’s home 4) If it is not possible to stay at Dolphins with the child due to staff commitments to be elsewhere (e.g. collecting their own children/grand- children from school) then (and as a last resort) Social Services will be informed 5) Dolphins staff are not permitted to take Dolphins children in their cars 6) Under no circumstances will the child be taken to the home of a staff member. Children not collected on time will remain in Dolphin’s care until collected or in the placed care of Social Services. 7) A note will be left on the Dolphin’s East door informing the parent as to where their child has been taken and where to collect the child.
Persistent lateness in collecting a child from pre-school amounts to abandonment and will result in: a) A verbal warning being given, and if lateness persists then b) A written warning will be given, and if lateness still persists then, c) A report will be made to the Child Protection Unit
As staff need to be paid for remaining at Dolphins after normal session times, parents will be charged this cost for having their child looked after for non-emergency late collection.
If a child is to be collected by someone other than the usual adult then we should be advised of this in writing. In an emergency, if a child is to be collected by someone unknown to Dolphins then parents should telephone to alert us to this change.
Question 10: We await the views of parents/carers on the the 10th question