In the 3’s, we aim to provide the children with the essential building blocks to early learning.
The 3’s class meets from 9:00am to 11:30am and offers children a two day (Tuesday/Thursday), three day (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) or five day option. There is a Head Teacher and two Teachers in the class, plus a Floating Teacher, as needed. There is a maximum of sixteen children in the classroom on any given day.
The 3’s Curriculum
It’s our goal to inspire curiosity, encourage cooperative and social play, and provide the children with a strong desire to learn. The year is taught through playful themes, like nocturnal animals, dinosaurs and an art study of the great artists, among others. We use these themes as a way into lessons on fine motor skills, letter and number recognition, and sociability.
- Social and Emotional Development
Children in the 3’s are very sociable, and they begin playing cooperatively with one another, rather than parallel to one another, like in earlier years. Our 3’s teachers work at helping children express themselves through language, engage in conversations with one another, and form relationships. Learning how to share materials during an art project, for example, becomes a powerful lesson in working together. Show and Tell is a favorite activity among the children in the 3’s, since they get to ask each other questions about their special item. Book Sharing, where kids bring in a favorite book for the teacher to read to the class, is another popular activity. In the spring, children bring in their favorite stuffed animal to get a check up from the “doctor,” teaching them about a typical doctor’s visit. We hatch chicks in the classroom to give the 3’s the incredible experience of watching baby chickens hatch while developing science skills.
Early in the year, we focus on colors and shapes, Learning about colors becomes an adventure when using Color Books to investigate various shades of color and identifying corresponding objects, and going on detective hunts to find shapes all around us. Kids in the 3’s will get their first introduction to letters, learning how to identify the letters in their name, and later, depending on the child’s skill level, they will write them. Early numerical identification is supplemented with counting games during Circle Time.
- Physical Development (Fine Motor/Gross Motor)
Fine motor development, critical for strengthening the muscles needed for handwriting, is an important part of the 3’s program. We practice with scissors, lacing up shoes, peeling stickers, solving peg puzzles and even take part in sensory play (sculpting with shaving cream and playdough, for example) to hone fine motor skills. At least three days of the week, children are making thematic crafts with specific fine motor goals incorporated into the project. On the playground and in creative movement, they have the opportunity to improve gross motor development, an important part of muscle development, and learning how to move and control their growing bodies.
The joy of music is learned through our twice-weekly music enrichment classes. Spanish and Creative Movement are also a much-anticipated part of every week.The 3’s class goes on three field trips: They visit Ramsey Farm for a farm life demonstration, the firehouse to see the big trucks up close and meet the firemen, and the Scarsdale Library for a story.Children in the 3’s are encouraged to take part in our two afterschool enrichment programs: Music and Arts.
A Typical Day in the 3’s
After placing their backpack and coat in their cubbies, children check the dry erase board at the classroom entrance to learn what’s happening that morning. Inside, there are one or two learning centers with activities encouraging fine motor skill development, a listening center and a Busy Bee Table, where the makings of a craft is often set up. Kids choose between one of these spots or they can head to the shelves of toys for free play. Some pull out blocks onto the colorful alphabet rug, while others head to the kitchen to “cook,” the puzzles center to piece together a puzzle, or the reading center to read a book.
Next is Circle Time. Here, we sing a hello song, welcome everyone to school that morning, and sing a few more songs to get their little bodies moving. Then the head teacher gives the children a rundown on the schedule. Next, children then head to one of our “specials,” like Spanish, music or Creative Movement. On Tuesdays, they go Gymtime, a large indoor play space outfitted with balance beams, mats, and climbing equipment.
Upon returning to the classroom, the students are often brought to the 3’s secondary activities classroom, where there are additional activities set up: a puzzle table, a sandbox and a playdough table. At our Circle Time, we sit and read a book. Kids are encouraged to ask questions, while the teacher will ask them a sequential question, or ask them to share a personal experience they’ve had with the subject — all steps in building early reading comprehension.
Weather permitting; we like to get the children outside almost everyday. Before dismissal, children run, jump, slide and balance on one of our two playgrounds.