Three’s Programs

As with our two year olds, we provide two classrooms for our threes: younger threes and older threes. Children develop so quickly at this age, and consequently there is a great difference between social, physical and cognitive skills. We think all threes should have a schedule and activities appropriate to their development level.

All threes are mastering large motor skills: they can walk and run with ease and enjoy learning to swing and ride bikes. Threes also struggle less with small motor control. They enjoy their ability to use crayons and paint brushes with ease. They also have control over their emotional outbursts even though they sometimes choose not to exercise that control.

Advanced language skills and greater body awareness, help make three year olds more tolerant of life in general. They can, for the most part, negotiate spatial complexities so the need for absolute control is less severe and therefore less evident. They are, for the most part, happy and content.

Threes are very open to new suggestions and willing to try new activities with a fair degree of ease. However, there is an extraordinary range of emotional growth and emotional hesitation. All the new control they have and all the interaction they are capable of, can and often do undermine them. When this happens, the regression to younger behavior – especially with the young threes – is evident: wanting comfort items and distress at separation. These “refueling” needs lessen quickly as the threes become fours.

By far the most challenging social difficulty for the three year old is learning the art of friendship. Threes want nothing more than to have and to be friends: this unfortunately, occurs at the exact time when all threes want nothing so much as to be powerful. Balancing friends and power is much too sophisticated for three year olds, and usually leads to conflicts of startling proportions.

As they move toward turning four, many of these dilemmas work themselves out; much to the relief of the children, as well as those around them.

All basic cognitive knowledge is becoming established with threes – colors, numbers, the alphabet, are all a part of their daily experiences. The program becomes more structured and the classroom begins to take on the visual of what the children are practicing verbally. Shapes can be found around the room, numbers take on a new meaning, they can be used for counting (to make sure everything is divided fairly, of course), and letters can be arranged to spell their names.

The goal for our threes is to encourage them to succeed with their new found abilities, and to continue to work more and more cooperatively. We want them to feel comfortable with social interactions and to begin to accept their peers as important entities in and of themselves. We want to help our threes to challenge, question and learn.