ECDC-ND School Year 3’s Group

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

“Discovering ECDC”

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.

“Homes and Houses,” “Our Families,” and “Pets”
The 3’s begin a series of studies that allow the children to get to know each other’s families and home life a little better through the investigations of homes, the people who live in that home (their family) and then end with the exploration of pets as members of the family. The children are also introduced to the class pet.  The children adore sharing information about themselves and learning how they are similar and the ways that make them unique.

“Fall” and “Bears”
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.

Our discussions about fall lead the children into the discussion of hibernation and one of the biggest hibernators – bears.  The children learn about black bears, grizzly bears, and polar bears, why and how they hibernate, some of the foods they eat, and about their amblings.

“Storybook Adventures”
Next the children are taken to new places through Storybook Adventures. During this study the children enjoy reading “The 3 Billy Goats Gruff,” “The 3 Bears,” “The 3 Little Pigs,” and “The 3 Little Kittens.”  (Have you noticed a pattern? – We love the number 3!)  The children experience these storybooks through flannel board stories, creative dramatics, songs, movement and puppets providing multiple avenues to further their knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment.

By this time of year, the children are excited to be “big three year olds.” They are eager to learn about the many ways to keep their bodies healthy and strong.  Through hands on exploration, the children discuss, taste and enjoy different healthy foods and “sometimes” foods, as well as learn about the grocery stores and markets where we purchase delicious and healthy foods. The Dramatic Play Area is transformed into the “3’s Market,” where the children will have the opportunity for rich pretend play as they go shopping, stock the grocery shelves and even become a cashier.  In addition to healthy foods, the children learn about and experience different ways to exercise and learn how we care for our own bodies through hand washing, bathing, covering our mouths when we cough and sneeze, and visiting the doctor and dentist regularly.

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.

“Things that Go”
Our discovery of “Things That Go” is always an exciting time … the children love vehicles of all kinds.  Together we explore cars, trucks, construction vehicles, trains, planes, and boats.   It is always amazing how much the children already know about these modes of transportation and how eager they are to share their knowledge and information with friends and ask questions in addition to learning new things.

Beginning at a very young age, children begin developing friendships.  During our study of friendships the children explore and practice what it means to be a friend and the wonderful things that you can learn and do with friends.  During February, around Valentine’s Day, we celebrate and appreciate our many friends at school with “Friendship Parties,” which are always great fun.

“A, B, C, Fun!” and “1, 2, 3 Numbers”
Next, the 3’s children explore letters and numbers.  During these studies, the children enjoy exploring letters that are important to them, such as the letters in their names, and the sounds of those letters, as well as counting and learning about numerals.  The wonderful materials in the classroom are used for practicing our numbers and letters.  Literature, songs, finger plays, and small group games enhance the children’s learning.  Three year olds are enthusiastic letter and number learners and are eager to share their new skills!

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.

“1, 2, 3 Come Rhyme with Me”
“1, 2, 3 Come Rhyme with Me” is the next study the 3’s explore.  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.

The school year ends with an exploration of zoo animals and the care they need.  Children love learning about the different animals and the similarities they have with these animals.  They all have mommies and daddies, need food to eat and a place to live.

Summer 3's Group - Bouncing Bunnies

During the summer our nickname is the Bouncing Bunnies. Throughout the summer we have 20 children with two teachers all of the time and a third adult/college student most of the time.

Summer Study – “Storybook Adventures – In Our Backyard

Our Summer Camp study in the Bouncing Bunnies room is “Storybook Adventures – In Our Backyard.” We are looking forward to spending the summer getting to know some wonderful children’s authors.  To begin our summer, we will focus on Eric Carle.  Eric Carle, a familiar and fun author, will provide us with animals and insects to inspire our large and small group learning activities.   We will be engaged in retelling many of the stories, using props and sequencing cards as well as focusing on new and interesting vocabulary.   Denise Fleming, Lois Ehlert, Margaret Wise Brown, and Nancy Tafuri are just the beginning of our Storybook Adventures.  We encourage you to visit your local library this summer and enjoy the authors that we are studying.  You may find some new books to have your own adventures with at home.
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 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. Because many of the children in the 2/3’s are still working on toilet training, we ask that you please provide several sets of clothing, including socks and an extra pair of shoes to ensure your child has plenty of extra clothing.  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 in the 2/3’s:  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 the beginning of 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 and story sequence
    • Literacy Development – beginning to recognize and identify letters beginning with the letters in their name, introduction to the beginning of letter sounds (consonants)
    • Mathematical Learning  – including spatial relationships – over/under, in/out, in front of/behind, matching and sorting, sequencing (3 step), counting with 1:1 correspondence, recognizing and copying patterns, beginning numeral recognition, etc.
    • Science Learning – including an inquisitiveness about the world around them, cause and effect, making predictions, caring for living things (guinea pig, 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  – moving from organized scribbling to simple representational drawing using markers and crayons; using manipulatives (e.g., stringing, connecting cutting/snipping, puzzles)
    • Knowledge About Themselves and Their World (cognitive conceptual development) – family, pets, animals, things that go, bears, seasons (fall, winter, spring), numbers and letters, songs and music, nursery rhymes 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!

Classroom Resources

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