Class of Three Year Olds

Threes are often described as being in transition. They more closely resemble 4- and 5- year old preschoolers than 2- year old toddlers. What sets them apart from toddlers more than anything else is their new found ability to express themselves in words and ideas. This ability opens up a whole new social world.


Social/emotional development: Now they are learning to trust parents, teachers, and other important people in their lives will take good care of them. Trust gives them the confidence to become independent and, in turn, to feel pride at being able to do new tasks.

Physical Development: Gross motor activities such as running, swinging, throwing, catching a ball, and dancing to music are great sources of pleasure in this group.

Cognitive Development: Three year olds are exploding with thoughts and ideas. They build theories and hypothesis of the world around them, and express their own ideas and thoughts to others. Understanding their surroundings, being aware of our context and having sense of belonging becomes more significant to three year olds.

Language & Communication: Three year olds learn about their world through watching and listening. The ability to listen in a group emerges slowly and with practice. They will listen attentively to stories read aloud. Most three year olds can use plural terms, talk in sentences, recite simple rhymes, and ask questions.

Three year olds speak clearly enough to be understood by most listeners. Speaking clearly for three year olds includes:

  • Requesting information and being understood
  • Describing a recent event and answering questions about it
  • Initiating a conversion with adults
  • Telling a story using words, props, and gestures to convey meaning