Nursery – 3 to 4 years old

Nursery – 3 to 4 years old

Three-year olds are full of wonder and spend a lot of time watching, observing, and imitating. Their imagination is working at all times. They are particularly interested in perfecting their fine motor skills that they once found it challenging when they were two years old. A three-year-old loves to pour, mix, mash and squeeze. At this age, a child will learn to hold his or her crayon better; thus, our classrooms are equipped with various writing tools to help with pretend writing and drawing. The gross motor skill development of this age group will learn to throw and catch a large ball. Hopping, climbing and skipping are activities that the child loves to practice and are incorporated into everyday activities. One of the favorite words during this period is asking “why?” Three years old want to know what causes the events around them. They will also learn to listen to the explanations of others with interest.

All of our classrooms are designed with learning centers, which give children the opportunity to play by themselves or in groups. The classroom itself is a prepared environment designed to provide children with only positive experiences. The furniture is scaled to their size, and thoughtfully placed in the room to achieve a natural flow of movement. Everything in the room is arranged in predictable fashion, so that children are able to take charge of their own learning, and to discover on their own. With its sensible structure, the classroom itself replaces the teacher as the center of focus. The teacher becomes a facilitator in helping the children utilize their space to learn independently. Our teachers skillfully plan engaging learning activities that build upon what your child can do, encouraging exploration along the way.

Traditional subjects such as math, language skills and social studies are integrated into the learning centers and introduced in the context of play. The learning centers within a classroom offers social learning—playing together to develop healthy development and underlies children’s ability for later academic learning. Our teachers are especially attuned to the emotional quality of classroom interactions and help children identify emotions (their own and others’) and learn problem-solving strategies. For example, in the dramatic play area, a supermarket gives children chances to count money, sort and classify objects (math); make signs to label shelves or advertise special sales (language); and experience foods from other cultures (social studies).

These centers constantly change according to the theme for the month. New activities and projects are introduced to meet emerging interests and individual learning goals. Most importantly, learning centers offers opportunities for intellectual and social development, which is the key to a successful transition to our pre-kindergarten program.

The following are skills/learning centers for this age group:

Fine Motor Skills/Art

Children are given plenty of opportunities to play with different textures: water, play dough, fingerprint, shaving cream, and more. They are exposed to art materials such as paint and paintbrushes, crayons and paper, chalk, and clay. Students are introduced to simple and varying levels of shaped puzzles (some with knobs on the pieces) and materials are rotated to provide variety. Stacking blocks, shaking bells, doing puzzles, pouring, drawing, pasting, and swinging. Play enables a child’s small-muscle coordination to develop.

Active Physical Play

Running, jumping, climbing, lifting, pulling, pedaling, reaching, hopping, dancing, skipping, rolling, bending. Play enables a child’s large-muscle coordination to develop. Outdoor play is required on a daily basis (weather permitting) with a minimum of 60 minutes of physical active play.

Music & Movement

Musical toys, instruments, and genres of music are introduced to children from the very beginning. Children are exposed to various types of music: classical and popular, music characteristic of different cultures, and songs sung in different languages. Students learn to dance, clap to rhythm of songs, or even sing along. Play enhances eye-hand coordination and muscle development.


Daily use of block manipulation (including transportation toys, people, signs, and animals) help to develop spatial and mathematical relationships and most importantly imagination.

Dramatic Play

Child-sized furniture and props represent what children experience in everyday life (household routines, work, transportation). Teachers pretend with children in play (talk to child on toy telephone, talk to baby doll) or pretend play with objects such as pots and pans, typewriters, fruits and vegetables. Students are exposed to dolls representing different races/cultures. Play fosters a child’s language, reading, and writing development.

Sand & Water Play

Different activities done with sand or water (on different days water used for washing dolls, floating toys, and pouring.)


Daily experiences with living plants or animals indoors. Caring for pets help children handle natural things carefully. There are daily explorations of the world around us, such as growing plants or flowers in the classroom, studying animals, examining the texture of a tree bark, and sorting various types of seashells.