The Tadpole Class is a beginning experience for the emerging three-year-old. The children in this class normally have their birthdays anywhere from summer to fall, winter, perhaps the first part of the year. Since this is the first experience for these young children in a formal preschool, there is a lot to learn and discover.
The teachers interact intimately with boys and girls, helping them through many stages of learning, but most importantly gaining their trust. When children are relaxed, knowing that they are safe—emotionally as well as physically—they can reach out and begin their journey into becoming little independent beings. They are then capable of learning, playing, and growing outside of the sphere of their nuclear family. There are so many new things to experience, going to the potty, washing hands, walking in the classroom, developing language and speech, expressing feelings, learning to be sensitive to and respect others as well as having fun and making friends.
Of course they are introduced to the concepts of cleaning up after playing with materials and transitioning to a new activity at the request of their teachers. These are huge stepping stones and children need sensitive encouragement. We find that they enjoy humor to help them in a year which will see them enter as very young children and grow into little students, capable to making their way into the older classrooms.
The room itself is very full of fun things to do, as well as materials for learning and developing small motor muscles. There is a huge variety of materials that will stimulate the interest and curiosity of any child. Many tactile activities, such as water play, sand, rice, bean tables, clay, and play dough help to stimulate sensory centers in the body. The class also includes art exploration using all kinds of media, including nature, free form art, and special projects. As with all the other classes, they also have plenty of outside time in the sandbox, riding bikes, and playing with climbers, slides, balls, etc.