2 ½ and up

Children this age love to explore using all their senses. Their language development is taking off and they can listen to and understand many conversations, stories, songs and poems. Children at this age also continue to develop their logical reasoning skills as they play but emotionally, they need and want familiar adults nearby for security as they explore and play. This knowledge about the development of three year olds forms the foundation for the program offered for them at Lily Pad.

Language Arts

Lily Pad strongly believes language skills should be built to last and enrich for a lifetime. The program at all ages focuses on the foundation that children learn language best by continual exposure to a language rich environment and frequent opportunities to express themselves in a variety of forms including:

  • Talking with others about their experiences
  • Describing events, activities, and thoughts
  • Listening to and making up stories, rhymes, and poems
  • Writing including drawing, scribbling, forming letters, and invented spelling
  • Dictating stories and accompanying them with illustrations.

The Grasshoppers' language arts program focuses on:

  • Oral expression
  • Dramatization and re-creation of stories
  • Rhyming
  • Development of receptive language skills
  • Listening to poetry
  • Exposure to letters and letter sounds
  • Dictation of sentences and stories
  • Speaking in group situations

Beginning with the Grasshoppers, Lily Pad uses the Letterland curriculum, a multi-sensory phonics program that lays the foundation for the solid word recognition skills necessary for the development of strong and accurate reading comprehension. This program, based on characters and stories about each letter, engage children’s attention and provide visual and verbal cues that guide them from identifying letters and their sounds to word building and blending.

The Grasshoppers' language arts program emphasizes the following:

  • Consonant sounds
  • Letter sound association
  • Auditory discrimination of letter sounds
  • Continued development of receptive language skills
  • Oral expression
  • Dictation of sentences and stories
  • Speaking in group situations


The development of mathematical thinking begins at an early age as children explore their environment and begin to sort, classify, seriate, create patterns, and eventually understand the concept of number.  From the very beginning children at Lily Pad are provided with constant opportunities to explore, describe similarities and differences, and make comparisons.

In the Grasshoppers' program the mathematical concepts explored include

  • Distinguishing and describing two and three dimensional shapes
  • Sorting, matching, and grouping
  • Classifying by more than one attribute
  • Comparing two sets to determine “more”, “fewer’, and “same number”
  • Creating patterns and describing them
  • Numbers 0-20
  • Changing the shape and arrangement of objects
  • Experiencing and describing positions, directions, and distances
  • Comparing time intervals
  • Measurement: height, weight, length, size
  • Problem solving activities


Lily Pad incorporates science into its daily programs as it builds on the natural curiosity of children and their impulses to act upon and learn from the world around them. Using Sciencestart!, a preschool science curriculum based on hands-on activities that encourage questioning and experimenting, teachers provide opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom, for children participate in hands-on science activities. The units explored include:

  • Measurement and Mapping is an introduction to the science cycle and various forms of measurement. The youngest children begin to make predictions and observations, and the older children learn use representations such graphs, charts, drawings, photography, and writing as a way of understanding and organizing important ideas.
  • Color and Light focuses on primary and secondary colors, how light travels, shadows, and reflection. Children design experiments, learn that repeating/replicating experiments produces similar results, make predictions as a part of their experiments, and then compare their results with their predictions.
  • Properties of Matter involves exploration of the properties of solids, liquids, and gases in chidlren’s everyday lives. They investigate solids, liquids, sinking and floating, and how air can make things move and fill things up. Children also explore changes in temperature and their effects.
  • Neighborhood Habitats is a life-science module that focuses on helping children learn that all living things need food, water, air, and space and have a habitat that supports them. Children explore their neighborhood to find out about the plants and animals that live there and how their special habitat meets their needs.
  • Movement and Machines begins with children’s observations of how their own bodies bend and move. These observations provide a foundation for exploring the movements of other objects such as spinning tops and pendulums. Topics in this unit include gravity, friction, and simple machines such as wheels, axles, ramps, levers, and pulleys.

Social Development

Through relationships with others, young children develop their understanding of the social world and construct their moral development. When they are able to positively experience the building blocks of these relationships, trust, autonomy, initiative, empathy, and self-esteem, in a supportive climate, children develop social competence and the capacity to take initiative.

At Lily Pad, the social development program emphasizes helping children:

  • Express feelings in words
  • Participate in group activities
  • Make and express choices
  • Take care of their things
  • Handle conflicts encountered in play
  • Be sensitive to the feelings and needs of others
  • Build solid relationships with both adults and their peers
  • Participate in collaborative play

Keeping children’s developmental characteristics in mind at all times, the teachers at Lily Pad establish a consistent and supportive environment, respond to children’s feelings and needs, and calmly guide the children toward developing the social competence that not only helps them develop friendships but also provides them with the confidence to pursue new interests.

Creative Representation

As children move from the toddler to preschool stage of development, they become able to form mental images and convey those images through both language and artistic representation. They begin exploring the use of materials to convey thoughts, ideas, and feelings and begin to intentionally choose to express themselves through different mediums. This allows them to become actors, writers, artists, singers, dancers, and much more. The program at Lily Pad captures this natural development as the children participate in a wide variety of activities that let them express themselves as they gain experience using different artistic mediums, learn songs and rhymes, experiment with simple musical instruments, participate in many role playing scenarios, and create models and structures through clay, blocks, and other materials.

In the Grasshoppers the children have many opportunities to experiment with:

  • Creating using wide variety of art materials
  • Building with blocks and other construction materials
  • Singing and using musical instruments
  • Role playing in dramatic paly areas that change on a regular basis
  • Steady beat and melodic rhythms
  • Circle, line, and changing partners games


Young children need frequent opportunities for movement each day as they play alone, with their friends, and with adults. An active learning environment is vital to their development and at Lily Pad teachers provide many activities or choice options that help the children develop their coordination and gain confidence in their physical abilities.

Activities in the classroom and on the playground include:

  • Large motor activities- running, skipping, jumping, freezing, galloping, and sliding
  • Fine-motor activities- pinching, grasping, stringing, gluing, writing
  • Movement and music activities
  • Non-competitive large and small group games
  • Work with balls, soft frisbees, hula hoops
  • Movement with various vehicles
  • Tumbling and climbing
  • Expressing creativity through movement

As young children construct their understanding of the world through experiences they have with their bodies and senses, action and movement are key to their understanding and gaining knowledge.