The children in our three year old class are generally two years from entering kindergarten when they begin in September. Most children have their fourth birthday while in this group.
Our three year old class is held on Tuesdays and Fridays. For the first month of the year, we meet from 9am-12pm. In November, the day is extended to 1pm.
Our focus in the beginning is on learning the routines of school and basic safety rules, following directions, using words to express their desires, engaging in large motor activities, and playing side-by-side with classmates.
Children have an art activity each day as fine motor skills are addressed. Exposure to various new materials is empowering for young children. They are proud of their creations and are eager to bring them home.
Social skills expand rapidly at this stage. Three year old enjoy meeting new people and are beginning to be aware of themselves as separate persons from those they meet. They enjoy singing and even have favorite song requests.
By the Spring, the children are forming friendships and playing cooperatively because of their increased understanding of sharing and taking turns.
Imaginative play is beginning to blossom. Dress-up and play in the play kitchen are favorite activities.
Children at this stage are active and growing rapidly. Large motor activities are still very important because sitting still is uncomfortable and almost impossible.
Story time in a classroom setting is different from being read to at home by parents. But we expose the children to good literature on a daily basis, including introducing them to literacy concepts such as title, author, and illustrator.
When "moving up day" comes in late May, the children are ready to move on to the three-day program for the four- and five-year-olds, with new and enriching challenges.