ECDC-SMC SY 3’s Group

Hello! Welcome to the ECDC-SMC 3’s School Year Group.  Our classroom community during the school year includes 20 children and 3 teachers.  ECDC-SMC 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 SY

“All About School” and “All About Me/Family” Studies
During the first few weeks of the school year we will be exploring our ECDC community.  The children begin to get to know one another and build relationships and friendships, enjoying songs, stories, games, art, and sharing as we come together as a new classroom community.  The children work together with friends and in small groups exploring the new materials, learning the 3’s routines, and expanding their circle of friends.  The children then begin to explore and share about themselves and their families, a natural extension.

“Fall,” “Winter,” and “Spring” Studies
As the fall season approaches the children have the opportunity to explore the many delights of autumn.  They investigate a wide variety of fall treasures including pumpkin explorations, apple eating, observing, playing and creating with the many colored leaves, and explore and compare gourds.  The children delight in the explorations and investigations happening on our playground from watching the leaves falling, gathering acorns, twigs, pine needles and all the wonders that come from the trees, and watching the squirrels prepare for winter.

Winter, with all its snow and glory, is a favorite time of year for the children to explore more of nature’s seasonal gems.  They learn about the changing temperatures, snow and ice, and where the different animals go during these cold winter months to stay warm.  Of course everyone is also excited to play in the snow, both indoors and outdoors. 

The beginning of spring brings excitement and joy! The children are eager to explore the changes they see around them on their playground, in their yards and parks. The children notice that the animals and birds have reemerged on the playground and delight in the bits of color popping up everywhere. They enjoy playing on the playground with the wheeled toys, wearing lighter clothing when going outside to play and the reappearance of the cement and grass as the snow and ice melt away.  They are becoming keen observers and investigators with each passing day.

Three year olds are always interested in transportation and learning about trains, cars, buses, and airplanes.  Children expand their knowledge about the many vehicles we use to move ourselves and materials through engaging literacy, art, math and science, and movement activities.  

“Nursery Rhymes”
Next the 3’s explore “Nursery Rhymes”.  There are many wonderful nursery rhymes and the children are excited to discover that several of them have different versions.  The children enjoy hearing them all and sharing their thoughts about how they are the same or different.  The children dance, sing, rhyme and delight in the many rhythms of these nursery rhymes.

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 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.     

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.  

Summer 3/4's Group - Chirping Crickets

Our nickname in the summer is the Chirping Crickets.  Our group includes 20 children and 2 teachers with a 3rd teacher most of the time.

Summer Study – “Once Upon a Time: Storybook Adventures”
Each summer, the Chirping Crickets go on “Storybook Adventures,” as the children explore well known books and stories, authors, and illustrators. Music, art, creative dramatics, games, math and science, and other hands-on activities extend our stories in exciting ways.  From going on a teddy bear picnic after reading bear books to having the zoo visit after reading about zoo animals, the children have a busy summer learning about a variety of topics based on their  interests.

Summer Special Activities –
This summer the children will have many fun activities to experience. During ECDC-SMC 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 Activities/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 for upcoming weeks are added to calendars as quickly as possible. When special activities have been finalized and calendars are updated, 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 the 3’s, we work on many things together throughout the year. Friendships with children and teachers, socialization, language development and vocabulary, gaining independence and self help skills, increased toileting independence, learning the routines within our activity room, and learning about the world around us are a few of the things we are constantly working on as we explore and learn together. The children are learning to play together in a group setting. We model and encourage turn taking, speaking to others and listening to others in small and large group activities, and problem solving with friends and materials.  The children grow in their ability to use their words with others when problem-solving and the teachers assist by giving them the words to use with their friends. 

    We explore and discover the world around us through the engaging and fun in-depth studies. Within each study, the children enjoy a variety of activities that encourage social, emotional, creative, physical, and cognitive development as well as a love of learning.  The children gain an awareness and appreciation of quality children’s literature, development of basic mathematical and science concepts, increased fine and gross motor skills, and growing creativity.  Activities are designed and materials are presented in order to be used comfortably and competently by the children, independently or with minimal assistance, however challenging enough to be exciting and to stimulate new learning.

    General Goals for the 3's Room

    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, numbers and letters, authors and illustrators, 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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