2 to U: Excellence in Academics Starts in the Early Years

2 to U: 2 Years old to University

Dulwich College is known for developing well-rounded students who go on to study in top universities around the world, and this process doesn’t just start in Senior School. Our curriculum is designed in a cohesive manner, starting with our 2-year-old Toddler students all the way through to the IB Diploma Programme. This ensures that throughout their time in the College, our students are developing the skills, knowledge and motivation to make a positive difference in the world, allowing them to Graduate Worldwise. Deputy Head of Primary, Tony Pickhaver, explains how the foundations for academic excellence are created in the Early Years, where play based learning is carefully guided and structured to ensure students are learning the skills that will set them up for success later in life. 


A Dulwich education starts with academic excellence at its core. Our students achieve exceptionally well throughout their time at the College, as a result of the wide range of academic and co-curricular programmes. Academic success starts with the strong foundations for learning we develop here in the Early Years.  


At Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi, the foundations for academic success are built by providing experiential learning opportunities that develop our student’s physical, social and cognitive skills. Our Early Years students learn through play which is guided and carefully crafted to ensure each and every child is able to reach their full potential.


Learning through play allows children to make connections in their learning through real-life contexts and experiences by exploring the world around them.


Children engage in creating schema, repeated patterns of behaviour which allow children time to explore, connect their thinking and gain an understanding about the world around them and how they link their own actions with outcomes. Children are taught to question and develop their own understanding of why and how things happen, to building upon existing knowledge with new learning.


Through observations, our skilled practitioners are able to plan appropriate experiences and create engaging provocations,  linked to curiosities and interests, to extend students’ learning. 


In role play, children are able to imitate known roles and situations to build upon communication skills, interactions and concepts relating to maths, science, history and geography. 


Through water and sand play, children are able to develop fine and gross motor skills and collaborate with others.


Every child is unique with different backgrounds, a variety of experiences and different interests.  Every child develops at their own rates and in their own ways. Through careful observations, detailed planning and the creation of engaging environments, we meet every child’s individual needs. 


Our students' success in the Senior School starts here in the Early Years. To the untrained eye, what appears to be fun, simple, play is in fact highly structured learning  with specific resources and purposeful intent to develop vital skills that students need to be successful from the Early Years through to Primary school, Senior School, university and beyond.