The Terrific Twos and Young Threes Program
Our 2s & young 3s program has 12 to 15 children and three teachers; a ratio of 1 teacher for every 4-5 students.
Our focus throughout the year is developing language and communication skills, particularly as they relate to sharing, problem solving and making friends. Our tables and interest areas are designed to promote and encourage conversation and interactions between the children and adults, while they explore the surroundings and materials offered.
Our art is open ended and the children are encouraged to have fun and experiment. The process is important for their fine motor skills and creativity. We use a variety of paint; tempera, foam, finger and watercolors, and various colors; pastels, primary, fluorescent, black, white and sometimes different shades of the same color. Some of the tools we use with paint include brushes, sponges, Q-tips, balls, rolled newspaper, cars, combs, feathers, branches, string etc. Our collage materials include yarn, foam shapes, material, leaves, branches, plastic flowers, puzzle pieces, and to attach them our “glue” might be white, colored, clear, liquid starch, corn syrup, or contact paper. Sometimes we even add glitter, sand or other textures to the glue to add interest. We also use stamps, crayons, chalk and stickers. Easel painting is set up every day either inside or outside.
Two year olds are usually very tactile and they are still exploring with their hands and sometimes their mouths. Our sensory materials include: playdough, clay and clay-like products, cornmeal, baking soda with vinegar, flour with and or without water, feathers, bird seed, pom-poms, shaving cream sometimes with colors to discover color mixing, and water. Our water tubs may have bubbles to wash the dolls, animals or cars, jugs for pouring and filling containers, ice and primary colors to watch colors change. As well as different tactile sensations our sensory tables provide beginning science awareness.
At these tables the children work on their fine motor skills, color and shape recognition. We provide puzzles, lacing beads, hammer pens and balls, matching games and constructions toys. Our Brio table is used for trains and tracks, Legos, small blocks and Bristle Blocks.
We have a dress up/kitchen area where children can role play –making “dinner”, taking care of the babies and pretending to be firefighters, dancers, restaurant workers, doctor and nurses. Our black area includes zoo and farm animals, dinosaurs, people cars and trucks. The book corner also includes stuffed animals and puppets. In addition to reading books during circle and story times, we read books whenever asked by to the children throughout the day and they may always look at books on their own or with friends. Props and toys from one area may be moved and used to enhance imaginative play in others as children’s creativity is always encouraged. Dress up clothes, books and puzzles are rotated at least monthly.
The children experience sitting in a group and practice their listening and following directions skills. Circle time may be as short as five minutes or as long as twenty minutes depending on the time of the year and age of children. We read books, tell stories using the felt board, sing, play musical instruments, dance, do movement activities, play games and parachute play.
Outside is where the children are working on gross motor skills. They climb, run, jump, ride bikes and push strollers, and use the sand box border as a balance beam. Children ride bikes, throw and kick balls and dig. The easel is set up outside for painting and chalk art, and we use the outside table for puzzles, constructions toys, and manipulatives. There is a playhouse, sand toys and dolls for outside dramatic play. During the warmer weather children enjoy water play, spray painting and shaving cream outside.