ECDC-ND SY 3/4’s Group

Hello! Welcome to the ECDC-ND 3/4’s age group.  During the school year, our classroom community includes 20 children and 2 teachers with a 3rd teacher most of the time.  ECDC-ND employs a few ND and SMC college students on a part time basis (4 to 10 hours per week) to assist teachers during the early morning, lunch and rest times and end of the day adding additional helping hands. These students are an important part of our program and we are most grateful for their time and energy.


Our Curriculum - In-Depth Studies Throughout the School Year

“Getting to Know You” – Introduction into Preschool

The school year begins with a “Getting to Know You” study during which the children learn the names of their friends and teachers in addition to learning about the 3/4’s classroom, toys and educational materials. The children enjoy books that describe the many things that happen during a preschool day, such as playtime, helpful teachers, art, group learning time, singing together, snack time and lunch, arrival/drop-off times, and rest time. The children participate in engaging activities with interesting materials that promote getting to know each other, the room, and the ECDC school.  Through these activities and experiences the children enhance their love of learning and come to know that preschool is all about learning and fun!

“Fall Harvest”
The “Fall Harvest” study provides the children with a variety of opportunities to learn about weather changes, the season of autumn, crops harvested in the fall, and animals that prepare for winter. With their 5 senses, the children explore the many treasures from nature including pumpkins, gourds, corn, acorns, and apples, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting the bounty of the fall season.  Books, art, songs, dramatic play and construction foster a growing knowledge of autumn, nature and the seasons.  We end our “Fall Harvest” by celebrating with a Pumpkin Party near the end of October filled with delicious fall snacks, fun games, and activities.

Children are builders!  Exploring the topic of “Construction” is an engaging and exciting experience for 3 and 4 year olds.  They adore the opportunity to use real tools and love constructing using blocks, legos, boxes, art materials, and many other varied materials.  During this study, the children learn about a variety of construction materials, tools, and vehicles and all of their many uses.  They learn about the work on a construction site, the tools and equipment necessary, and the building techniques used by construction workers.  As the children delve into the study the structures they build become more complex, reflecting their growing knowledge.

“The Wonder of Animals”
Children are very curious about animals; they delight in learning about where animals live, what they eat, and their families (herds, flocks, schools, prides).  The children learn about a variety of animals through exploring animal related books, materials, games, and activities.  They investigate and learn about animals that can be pets as well as about forest and jungle animals, ocean animals, and animals that live in the zoo. Those animals that the children express the most interest about are then the animals that the teachers create special opportunities for further exploration and investigation.  Lions, tigers, and bears… oh my… (or maybe monkeys, alligators, and elephants)…each is so interesting and fun! 

“Nutrition and Keeping Our Bodies Healthy”
Children from a very young age include food and eating in their play (e.g., feeding babies, fixing dinner, creating tea parties).  It is a natural extension for 3 and 4 year olds to love to learn about healthy foods (both familiar and new foods) and ways to keep their bodies healthy.  The children learn about the different food groups through many different activities, including sampling new foods, engaging in dramatic play and creative dramatics, building stores and restaurants, painting and drawing.  They also learn about the importance of exercise and other ways to stay healthy, such as going to the doctor and the dentist.     

“The Arts”
The classroom is brimming with eager little artists.  What better way is there to learn about art and artists than ”The Arts” study.   The children explore the elements of art, including color, shape, texture, line, space, and aesthetic value. The great master artists the children discover include Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso which promotes a developing understanding of the diversity of art. The children learn and use a variety of art techniques, such as printing, painting, drawing with oil pastels, spray-painting, and more! To celebrate the completion of our art study, the children create the 3/4’s Art Museum to share with their families their own creative artwork. 

“Favorite Things”
The year comes to an end with an exploration of the children’s “Favorite Things.” They are invited to bring in their favorite books, stuffed animals, toys, and games to share with one another. Their favorite things are included in our activities throughout the day – reading favorite books at storytime and in small groups, playing favorite games during free choice time, sharing favorite stuffed animals during group time. The children relish sharing and playing with their favorite things with their friends and teachers!

Summer 3/4's Group - Chirping Crickets

Our nickname in the summer is the Chirping Crickets. Throughout the summer we will have 20 children with two teachers at all times and a third teacher most of the time.

Summer Study – “The Wonders of Gardens and Insects”
During our summer study of “Gardens and Insects” the children explore gardens and insects in a variety of ways.  The children have the opportunity to wear gardening gloves, dig with real trowels, and plant seeds and starter plants in our classroom and outside in our ECDC Chirping Crickets gardens!  Flowers, vegetables and herbs flourish in our gardens with the children’s eager care.  What a joy it is to see a real plant grow before our eyes as we learn how to care for plants!  The children also explore the variety of insects, how insects help gardens grow and the benefits of insects in our world.  They have the opportunity to observe and feed live ladybug beetles, butterflies, earthworms and meal worms.

Summer Special Activities –
This summer the children will have many fun activities to experience. During ECDC-ND summer camp, we will be very busy in our classroom, on the playground, and in our meadow enjoying gymnastics, creative dramatics, picnic snacks, storytellers, music, gardening and so much more! It is going to be a great summer! Special activities are evenly divided, as best they can be, across the various part time enrollment schedules. Children enrolled full time participate in all of the special activities. Children enrolled with part time schedules participate in a selection of special activities (e.g., TTH mornings or afternoons have approx. 1/5th of the special activities, MWF mornings or afternoons have approx. 3/10’s of the special activities, MWF all day schedules have approx. 3/5’s of the activities and TTH all day schedules have approx. 2/5’s of the activities). When unexpected changes occur, you will receive notification via email. Whenever possible a cancelled special activity will be rescheduled.

Electronic Calendars of Special Events –
ECDC families will be able to access their child’s calendar of special events/field trips via the “Classroom Resources” section of their classroom’s page on the ECDC website.  Activities are scheduled in two week increments.  When the next two weeks of special activities has been finalized, we let families know in the daily communication.

College Student Involvement

During both the School Year and Summer programs, we welcome practicum college students into our class from seven area colleges and universities (Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, IUSB, Bethel, IVY Tech, Holy Cross and Southwestern Michigan) who are completing course-required observations. We also welcome Notre Dame student volunteers who spend 2 hours per week with our group. Practicum and volunteer college students always work with the teachers in the classroom. We value their involvement as they offer extra smiles, laps, conversations and support for our children.

The Rhythm of the Day

Items to bring to ECDC for your child

It is helpful to bring the following items on your child’s first day~

    • One photograph of your child for the front of her/his locker.  If possible, have your child help you select the picture to bring to school for his/her locker.
      • 1 package of 8 color, washable markers
      • 1 box of 8 color Jumbo Crayons
      • 1 bottle of washable school glue (preferably Elmers)
    • Several complete sets of extra clothing to keep on the top shelf of your child’s locker. These clothes will be used by your child should he/she get bodily secretions on clothing or spill milk or water on clothing.  Children feel more comfortable putting on their own clothing if they do need to remove wet clothes. Please mark your child’s name on the extra clothing and store in a plastic bag on the top shelf of his/her locker.  Please keep your child’s extra clothing seasonal and check them often to make sure a complete set of clothes is always available.  Thank you.
    • Diapers for children still working on toilet training. Each family is responsible for bringing in diapers or pull-ups (if they open and re-close on the sides). Packages of diapers and pull-ups must be brought to us in sealed packages, due to state licensing regulations. ECDC will provide wipes.
    • RESTING ITEMS for children attending in the afternoons:  1 small crib size blanket (30″x40″) and small crib size pillow (12″x16″). Children enrolled in the mornings only do not need to bring resting items. Please note:  bed size pillows, bed size blankets and large or small sleeping bags may not be used at ECDC for rest times due to limited storage space and cleanliness and safety issues. Please provide crib size pillows and crib size blankets.
    • Family Photo: 4″x6″ family photo that ECDC will laminate for easy cleaning
    • Lovie:  A lovie might be a blanket, a small, stuffed animal or something else a child is attached to. These lovies help children to feel comfortable during the time they spend apart from their families and can be a healthy and typical part of growing up. We encourage children to bring their lovies to school. We will keep lovies in the children’s lockers because children often forget about them until they need them.
    • Face Masks: We are encouraging all children to wear masks or face shields. This may become a requirement in the future. Please provide 3 clean masks (or you can provide a face shield) labeled with your child’s first and last name each day.
    • Water Bottle: Please provide a reusable, filled water bottle that has a flip down straw labeled with your child’s name. Parents are responsible for daily cleaning of the water bottle and sending it filled to ECDC daily with their child.
Learning Experiences and Goals

In addition to establishing a classroom that is safe, inviting, developmentally stimulating, full of friendships and fun, the teachers have general overarching goals for the children. While teachers will work with families individually to establish more specific individual child goals, many of our general goals are listed below:

    • Relationships with Others – developing positive friendships with peers and teachers and developing the tools to problem-solve with others
    • Respect – A sense of respect for themselves, others, and materials
    • Responsible for our choices/actions and daily care of our environment
    • Responsive to their own bodily needs and the needs of others
    • Resourceful in play while learning to be problem solvers and how to use problem-solving skills effectively with people and materials.
    • Play Development – Transitioning from solitary and parallel play to cooperative play
    • Self Help Skills – including hand washing, blowing noses, dressing and undressing for toileting and to go outside, putting materials away, and managing their art box and lockers.
    • Attending Skills – including following directions, listening to stories, persistence with individual and small group activities, participation in conversations with peers and teachers
    • Expressive and Receptive Language Skills – including growing vocabulary, increased conversational turn taking, participation in large and small group discussions, more frequent use of words during challenging situations, etc.
    • Literature – including appreciation of books, print awareness, book orientation, re-telling of stories using props, increased understanding of characters, setting, story events and story sequence
    • Literacy Development – including letter recognition, phonemic awareness of consonants, beginning writing – moving from scribbling to representational marks to writing individual letters to beginning to write own name legibly
    • Mathematical Learning  – including spatial relationships – over/under, in/out, in front of/behind, matching, sorting and classification, sequencing (3 step), counting with 1:1 correspondence, recognizing and copying patterns, numeral recognition, etc.
    • Science Learning – including an inquisitiveness about the world around them, cause and effect, making predictions, caring for living things (fish, plants, garden)
    • The Fine Arts – awareness, appreciation and engagement with the fine arts, including music, art, movement, drama, and creative expression  
    • Gross Motor Skills – including increased awareness of self in space, eye-hand coordination  (ball catching and throwing), climbing, pedaling, strength, balance, and control
    • Fine Motor Skills  – including writing and drawing with varied materials and implements and manipulatives (e.g., lacing, stringing, cutting, tracing)
    • Knowledge About Themselves and Their World (cognitive conceptual development) – family, pets, animals, construction, artists and their art, songs and music, gardening, plants and insects.
    • Develop a sense of belonging to our community – sharing ideas and listening to what others have to say, developing friendships, and robust participation in the daily life of the classroom experiences.
  • Attributes, Dispositions and Approaches to Learning – self-confidence, friendly, cooperative, curious, creative, initiative – eager participation in new or novel experiences, persistence, flexibility, generous, empathetic, lending a helping hand, taking turns, and a love of learning.
Celebrating Birthdays at ECDC / Special Treats for the Children

Birthdays are a special time in a child’s life and we know how much they look forward to celebrating this time with their friends. The children and teachers at ECDC enjoy being part of this celebration. The teachers and program staff will plan and provide a special healthy snack for each child’s birthday. If you have any questions please speak with one of the lead teachers or a Program Director. Thank you!

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