All About Us
Year-Long Essential Questions
- What makes me, ME?
- How do I learn?
- How do I solve problems?
- How should I effectively communicate my wants, needs and thoughts?
- How can I be a good friend?
Language and Communication
Language development is not only an important aspect of social development, but is the foundation for all learning. Language is at the core of everything we do. The language skills of three-and-four-year-olds are expanding rapidly. At this age, children begin to communicate in more complex sentences and are expanding their vocabularies. Following two and three-step directions is a crucial skill learned at this stage, as is understanding explanations for first-hand experiences. Three- and four-year-olds frequently initiate conversations, but still need to practice turn taking. They are developing their abilities to communicate their wants and needs to adults, work successfully with their peers in cooperative learning activities, present personal experiences before the group, and ask and answer related questions.
Throughout the year, students will learn to:
- speak in complete sentences; most of what is said is understood by others
- follow 2- or 3-component commands
- use pronouns correctly
- understand physical relationships (in, on, under, over)
- use social conventions
- express feelings appropriately
- coordinate gestures and voice to convey meaning
- ask and answer Why?, What?, or Where? questions
- know when help is needed and ask for it appropriately
- make simple predictions
- remember what is said and share information
Linguistic Intelligence (Reading)
Three-and-four-year-olds are building their knowledge of concepts of print. They may want to know what words in their environment say and can recognize some letters, most often the letters in their name. Through Big Books and Shared Reading activities, children begin to understand that print has meaning. They display their knowledge of print by reading picture books and stories with repetition and rhyme.
By the end of the 3/4s school year, students will be able to:
- demonstrate reading-like behaviors; understand that reading goes from left to right, and top to bottom
- choose books as a Choice option; have favorite titles
- listen attentively to read alouds; react appropriately to events in the story
- identify major characters
- use illustrations on a page to gain meaning
- identify setting, when within realm of personal experiences
- answer questions or retell major parts of story
- recall nursery rhymes and finger plays
- distinguish between speech and environmental sounds, and recognize if same or different
- continue an alliterative phrase
- identify words that rhyme and produce rhyming word.
Linguistic Intelligence (Writing)
Students at this age are developing fine motor skills. Their writing begins first as scribbles, without much form, and progresses to representational people and letters. Children exercise their small muscles through various activities such as play dough, easel painting, crayon and using small manipulatives. This beginning work, which strengthens small muscles, prepares the children for later handwriting tasks.
By the end of the year, students will:
- recognize some environmental print
- distinguish between writing and drawing
- understand that print has meaning
- imitate common writing activities in their own play
- ask adults to write or label own pictures (stories)
- grasp writing instrument, approximating an adult grip
- draw lines horizontally and vertically
- produce some letter-like forms and letters
- tell about their own work
Our youngest students are beginning to use reasoning to solve everyday problems and effectively use language to compare and describe objects and shapes. They are beginning to understand what a problem is asking, and develop a plan for solving it. Through direct instruction, center activities, and art projects students are exploring and discovering the world of math around them.
Some of the major skills covered during the 3/4s year are:
Numbers and Operations
- rote count to 20
- identify more and less
- count using one-to-one correspondence
- identify numerals to 10
- name, recognize, and label basic shapes
- identify important data
- interpret pictorial graphs
- sort by attributes
- replicate a given pattern
- compare two objects using non-traditional units
Centers and Choice Time
During Center Time children are encouraged to make choices about where they play. The room is arranged in well-defined centers which reflect the eight Multiple Intelligences. Teachers use Center Time to ask questions that will initiate and extend children’s thinking, in pre-academic areas. Center Time gives the children the opportunity to use their Interpersonal Intelligence by learning to play and socialize appropriately.