Three’s – Older Toddlers
As your child turns three, their verbal language becomes a powerful tool they use to express themselves. As their identity and independence develops, they begin to question everything around them and are constantly asking, “why?”. As they develop a better sense of time, children of the two’s separate from parents with greater ease. Since they begin to better understand a daily flow and others’ routines, they are more comfortable accepting transitions and soothe themselves with their ability to make predictions about what is coming next.
Teachers prepare environments that encourage interactions between the children. The children exchange knowledge as they engage in conversations. The teachers ask open-ended questions to deepen children’s discussions of topics and to support the evolution of children’s theories. Teachers’ and children’s intentionalities are shared with one another as a network of ideas is developed enabling both to be active participants of the learning process. While your child learns new words and fine-tunes their articulation they communicate in simple sentences, begin initiating conversations, display a desire to talk about their interests, and can relate personal experiences with others with the support of their teacher. Most children at this age express themselves in sentences and are able to recite simple rhymes and ask questions.
Considering that children of the three’s are still making sense of the world around them using all of their senses our educators continue to expose them to many sensorial materials such as paint and clay. These open-ended materials support the children in developing divergent thinking, problem solving skills, and creativity.
As children’s drawings become more detailed and representational children begin to tell stories through them. This, in turn, helps them to understand that print carries a message and the words we speak can be written and read; that stories have a beginning, middle, and an end. During the year scribbles begin to appear more like symbols and letters, and children may string several of these “letters” together to form words. They become aware of the uses for writing and may dictate words for the teachers to write down.
Teachers are able to support this process by setting up provocations around the spaces of the classroom that invite children to explore the world of the written code: books, notepads and writing tools, labels, maps, and more. Tracing names and numbers, categorizing shapes and the recognition of patterns are also introduced to support the development of emergent literacy skills.
We support children in the discovery of the meaning print holds by creating provocations and situations that awaken their affinity for and interest toward written communication. To strengthen their growing understanding of language, children are encouraged to recognize key ideas and details of stories, understand positional relations and vocabulary terms as well as learn to develop hypotheses based on observations, questions, and investigations.
While their gross motor skills become stronger, activities such as running, throwing and catching a ball, and dancing are a source of great joy. They begin to challenge themselves further and it is common to see them outside in the playground climbing up and jumping down. Children love to feel a sense of accomplishment and putting a puzzle together, painting, and drawing are all ways they demonstrate their growing abilities.