The Younger Class serves children who are ages 3-4 and meets on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:45 AM to 11:45 AM. Younger Class children are eligible to enroll in Lunch Bunch until 1 PM and Stay & Play until 2:45 PM.
The Younger Class schedule provides a comfortable blend of outdoor play, circle time, free choice time, special activities and snack time that engages the children’s growing independence, interest in new experiences and vivid imaginations. Each morning, teachers guide children as they pursue their ideas and interests while working independently, and in large and small groups. Though the theme of separation and connection is still relevant as children learn how to say goodbye to their parents, their interest in forging friendships with their classmates grows. Throughout the year, teachers nurture their desire to reach out to their peers and support them in navigating the seas of more sophisticated social relationships.
During free choice time the children relish initiating their own activities and they are proud of their accomplishments. They are prolific artists, expressing their ideas and honing fine motor skills while drawing, painting and sculpting, often with beautiful results. When teachers record children’s ideas on their work, the children begin to understand the connection between print and the spoken word. Their interest in hearing stories is encouraged and they are frequently found cuddled up with a teacher and a few friends in their classroom library where works of fiction, poetry and non-fiction are always available and regularly refreshed. They are also drawn to dramatic play which revolves around themes of home, family, community and fantasy. Engaging in this type of play provides rich opportunities for role playing, oral language development, planning, sequencing and practicing important social skills like sharing and taking turns. Self-help skills are developed as they don costumes, set their table and solve everyday problems. Meanwhile, block building, working with puzzles and other manipulatives help build spatial, representational and numeracy skills.
As the children’s attention span grows, circle time becomes more involved. They gather together to enjoy longer stories, sing songs and have discussions. Outdoor time continues to be an important and exciting part of the day and the Younger Class children eagerly demonstrate their budding physical prowess on our climbing and riding equipment. They connect with nature and the rhythm of the seasons as they walk on the nearby wooded trails, rake leaves, ride sleds in the snow and tend our garden. The Younger Class children benefit from enrichment activities such as Spanish, Music and Movement as well as visits from puppeteers, nature specialists and community helpers. Each Spring, during a theme on “Growing,” they learn about life cycles as they carefully nurture and observe a clutch of hen’s eggs that, to their delight, hatch into fluffy chicks they can cuddle and care for. We’re amazed at the growth and transformation we witness in the children during their Younger Class year!