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Dozen Months of Learning

Child Development for children
36 48 months (3-4 years)

IntroducDon to course
This course is designed with experienced
educators in mind who need to be made up to
speed on the importance of the developmental
milestones typical of and appropriate pracDce
necessary for the growth and learning of 3 to 4
year old children. With this course, educators will
be able to rediscover the fundamentals of early
childhood ages and stages that children undergo
by age 4. Educators will be reminded of their role
in building a posiDve rapport in their classrooms
and promoDng healthy development through
acDviDes, pracDces, and environmental changes.

Course ObjecDves
ParDcipants will be able to:
IdenDfy the developmental milestones of learning for a 3-4 year old in
the essenDal domains: sense of self, social-emoDonal, language,
cogniDve, and physical development.
Examine the causes and assess strategies for coping with the why
Evaluate examples of creaDve-art and sensory-science experiences
that enhance learning.
Assess a learning environment that promotes safe and healthy
development through age-appropriate classroom setup, materials,
acDviDes and teacher-child interacDon.
Compare developmentally appropriate pracDces to pracDces that are
inappropriate for 3-4 year olds.
IdenDfy warning signs of developmental delays.
Design an ideal learning environment poster for a 3-4 year old

Developmental Milestones Overview

Sense of Self

At 3-4 years, your preschooler:

Can buTon, unbuTon, zip and unzip things.
Can set the table and serve herself.
Will try to wash hands and brush teeth independently.
Is toilet trained, but accidents can sDll happen.
Cleans up spills with assistance.
Suggested Ac7vi7es/Materials for your preschooler are:
Cooking acDviDes.
Encourage children to nd toys themselves and set up play area.
Encourage children to help set table and serve themselves, with
help as needed.
Provide child-size bowls, serving pieces, pitchers.
Sit with children during meals, encouraging conversaDon.
Consistently provide a clean-up Dme aWer each acDvity,
encouraging all children to parDcipate.
Adopted from BeTer Brains for Babies. (2015). Learning and development: Chilldren 36 to 48 months. Georgia Division of family and children
services. Retrieved from hTp://www.bbbgeorgia.org/childDev_36-48.php#social

Developmental Milestones Overview

Fine Motor Skills
Build a tower of 9-10 small blocks
Use play-dough to make balls, snakes, cookies, etc.
Build things with large linking blocks, such as Megablocks or Duplo
Draw a circle by herself
Copy a cross (+)
Imitate you drawing a square
Start to hold a crayon or pencil with a mature grasp (like an adult)
Cut across a piece of paper
Start to cut along a straight line
Manage buTons
Put on most items of clothing by herself, but may sDll need help
with shirts and jackets
Feed himself well with a spoon and fork

Adopted from Childrens therapy and family resource center. (2011). Preschool developmental milestones: Fine motor skills. Retrieved
from hTp://www.kamloopschildrenstherapy.org/ne-motor-skills-preschool-milestones

Developmental Milestones Overview

Large Motor Development
Walk up and down stairs, alternaDng feet, kick, throw, and catch a ball,

climb well, run more condently and ride a tricycle, hop and stand on
one foot for up to ve seconds, walk forward and backwards easily,
bend over without falling
Cogni7ve Development
Can match shapes colors and paTerns, can draw faces with some
details, can print large capital leTers using pencils or crayons, cuts
gures with scissors and may be able to print rst name
Language Development
Speak 250 to 500 words, speak in complete sentences of 5 to 6 words,
talks about things and makes up stories, answer simple quesDons and
recall parts of a story
Social and Emo7onal Development
Begin to show social skills and manners, aTempts to get dressed on
their own, more socially and emoDonally independent, makes friends ,
has fewer tantrums

Adopted from Shelov, S.P. & Hannemann, R.E. (Eds.). (2004).The complete and authorita1ve guide: Caring for your baby and young child: Birth to age 5. The
United States of America: The American academy of pediatrics & Bantam Books.

Language/Social Development:
Why the WHY? Phase

When children begin to learn real words, the words usually dont
correspond exactly to the way adults use them. OWen a specic
word is used to indicate an enDre category or visa versa. When you
try to answer children at this stage of development with the reason
for something, they are leW cold. When they ask WHY?, what
they really mean is, Thats interes1ng to me. Tell me more,
please? They dont need to know why, all they need is animated
aTenDon and [enthralled conversaDon]. This communicaDon dance
doesnt end with the WHY? phase of development. As children
grow, their communicaDon skills become more rened, and it is
oWen more dicult to [noDce] the Thats interes1ng to me. Lets
talk about that together, underneath the surface. Our young
scholars want to explore this fascinaDng world with the people
they feel the safest around and love the most. They are curious
and eager to explore the world, but they are sDll asking for YOU.
Greene, Dr. A. (2000). Why children ask why. Lets talk kids health. Retrieved from hTp://www.drgreene.com/qa-arDcles/why-children-ask-why/

Why The Why Phase? What to do!

Because they are aTempDng to make a connecDon with you. Engage your preschooler
with a personal story. Open up and reveal something about yourself on their level of
understanding. This two way exchange will enhance their language-communicaDon
skills and build a stronger, more trustworthy teacher-student bond.
Because they are broadening their knowledge about the world around them. Take the
opportunity to teach them about life. Answer why by making real world connecDons
that engage learning and sDmulate their cogniDve development.
Because they have an ever-growing curiosity about lifes mysteries and peculiariDes.
Feed the imaginaDon of your student with interesDng stories or unusual happenings.
The supernatural and extraordinary enhance childrens creaDve thinking skills.
Because they are learning to think more clearly, reason more logically and solve
problems on their own. Answer your childs quesDon with yet another quesDon. This
sDmulates their developing logical reasoning skills and can make for a fun, interacDve
exchange as quesDons can become profoundly amusing.
Because they cant search for their answers on Google and look to you as a resource for
informaDon. Teachers and parents are childrens number one resource. They look to
you as an expert on many topics. If you dont know the answer to their quesDon, share
something you do know. The engagement is more meaningful for the child then the
answer itself.

CreaDve and Art Development

Please view the chart on the webpage
CreaDve Development in a Nutshell to learn
more about the milestones of a 3-4 year olds
CreaDve Development as well as strategies
and acDviDes to encourage healthy
development. AWer you have viewed the
chart, return to the PPT and conDnue onto the
next slide.

Sensory and Science Development

Please visit the website
hTp://www.learning4kids.net/list-of-sensory-playideas/ Here you will be provided with a variety of
sensory play ideas and acDviDes that you can
implement in your classroom. AWer you have read
through the various examples, return to this slide and
answer the essenDal quesDons below.
EQs: Which 3 acDviDes are most appropriate for the
development of 3 to 4 year olds? How do these
experiences help to generate childrens interest in
science? What other areas of development are being
sDmulated through these acDviDes?

Child Development at Age 3

Please click the link on the webpage or copy and
paste the link below in your web browser to view
the 3 minute video Your Child at 36 Months.
AWer you have watched the video, please return
to the PPT and answer the essenDal quesDon
EQ: Based on what youve reviewed so far, does
Dorian display healthy and developmentally
appropriate behavior for a 3 year old?

The Preschool Environment

Classroom should contain a bathroom, tables for
eaDng, and interest areas divided into the following
centers: art, blocks, books, manipulaDves, science,
sand, weather, music, dramaDc play, and large motor
Learning materials and equipment should be stored on
the children's level
Outdoor area should have areas of shade and sun with
resilient ground cover. An area for riding toys should
be provided. Swings, low climbers, playhouse, slide,
and sand area with sand toys should be provided
Individual aTenDon, close supervision, and responsive
caregiving are criDcal to future development
Adopted from BeTer Brains for Babies. (2015). Learning and development: Chilldren 36 to 48 months. Georgia Division of family and children
services. Retrieved from hTp://www.bbbgeorgia.org/childDev_36-48.php#social

To Promote Healthy Development:

If your toddler is under foot while preparing meals, ask him
to carry light, non-spill containers to the table for you.
Ask your child to pick up her toys aWer playing and put
them away. This helps her motor skills.
Read with your child. Find books with pictures and acDve
stories. Ask your child quesDons about the story, pictures
and characters.
Color and draw pictures with your child. Use bright colors
and non-toxic crayons.
Encourage your parents to take children on fun,
educaDonal ouDngs such as the zoo, aquarium, or a
childrens museum. Children should ask quesDons about
what they see.
Adopted from Parent Help 123. (2014) Child Development: Children age 2 to 4 years. Within Reach. Retrieved from hTp://

Keep in mind these Dps!!!

Walking along a line on the ground will promote
balance and concentraDon.
Running around a tree and back or through a maze of
objects provides vigorous exercise and helps children
master turns and balance.
Hopping on one foot then on the other and skipping
promote balance and strengthen leg muscles.
Toddlers should not be inacDve for more than 60
minutes at a Dme, except when sleeping. Encourage
acDvity in your child by providing a safe, open place to
play. Do not keep toddlers in restricDve sevngs, such
as strollers, for long periods.
Adopted from Parent Help 123. (2014) Child Development: Children age 2 to 4 years. Within Reach. Retrieved from hTp://

To decide the appropriateness of the
ac0vity, you must ask yourself
Does the ac7vity:

Allow the preschooler to parDcipate at their own level?

Allow for exibility, with no right or wrong outcome?

Encourage the preschoolers acDve learning through parDcipaDon?
Encourage exploraDon and thinking for the 3-4 year old?
Allow the preschooler for socializaDon and interacDon with others?
Enable 3-4 year old children to learn through their senses?
Allow 3-4 year olds to experience things hands-on?
Provide the preschooler with enriching choices?
Foster childrens posiDve feelings about themselves?
Respect individual dierences and cultural diversity?
Acknowledge the physical needs of children?
Reect the goals and philosophy of the center?

Adopted from Cabraham. (2005). Developmentally appropriate pracDces with young children. Retrieved from 123child.com/website-share/D.A.P.pdf

Inappropriate vs. Appropriate

Developmentally Appropriate AcDviDes: Dos and Donts

Add only board books to the library in a

preschool classroom because they dont
tear so easily.
Allow a poTy trained three year the
choice of when to use the toilet
because you dont want to argue.
Make your 3 year old students plates
before calling them to the table aWer
lunch arrives.
Add large tubs of candy scented playdough to your 3 year olds art center.
Spray preschoolers with hose during
water play.
Play R&B music while the children

Encourage preschoolers to explore
standard picture books with paper
Implement a poTy schedule to establish
consistency and rouDne for your three
year olds poTy needs.
PracDce family style dining by allowing
children to serve themselves.
Introduce unscented play-dough in
small amounts to preschoolers.
Place water in a shallow tub or pan on a
stable table so she can touch and
explore it on her own.
Play soW, jazz, classical or instrumental
music only to sDmulate childrens brains
as they nap.

According to the CDC, you should be concerned

if the 3-4 year old in your care:

Cant jump in place.

Has trouble scribbling.
Shows no interest in interacDve games or make-believe.
Ignores other children or doesnt respond to people.
outside the family.
Resists dressing, sleeping, and using the toilet.
Cant retell a favorite story.
Doesnt follow 3-part commands.
Doesnt understand same and dierent.
Doesnt use me and you correctly.
Speaks unclearly.
Loses skills he once had.

Adopted from Center for disease control and prevenDon. (March 2014). Important milestones: Your child at 4 years. US Department of Health and human
services. Retrieved from hTp://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/milestones-4yr.html