Preschool Curriculum for 3-Year-Olds

An effective preschool curriculum prepares boys and girls for kindergarten.

Three-year-olds enjoy discovering the world around them. At this age they speak in sentences and carry on two-way conversations. They observe and imitate those around them. Active involvement in preschool helps to perfect their fine and gross motor skills. An effective preschool curriculum expands a child’s knowledge of math, language, music and art and involves plenty of creative play and physical movement.

1 Literacy

Preschool children need exposure to a variety of literature. Teachers can use big books and flannel boards during storytelling when students look at pictures and retell the stories.

Nursery rhymes and rhyming words are also included daily. Teachers typically present a new letter of the alphabet each week. The boys and girls learn to associate sounds with letters.

“Show and Tell” gives them the opportunity to speak in front of others.

2 Math

Three-year-old children begin to recognize numbers and can learn to count to 10. They can identify shapes such as circls and squares and can sort items according to shapes and sizes. To encourage problem-solving and spatial relationships, teachers can cut pictures in half and have students match the two pieces.

3 Music

Music is an integral part of a preschool curriculum. Students learn rules and manners through singing related songs. Three-year-old children interact with music through singing and rhythmic body movements. They do finger plays to songs such as “The Eeensy Weensy Spider.” They play simple instruments and beat on drums. Music also improves their listening skills.

4 Art

Students in preschool learn to use scissors to cut paper. They trace large, simple shapes. These activities help to develop their eye-hand coordination. They are exposed to a variety of art mediums, such as water color, paint, chalk and colored pencils. At this age, children enjoy active art projects such as making things out of clay.

5 Science

The simplest experiments please a preschooler. They are introduced to concepts such as magnets. They observe elements of nature, such as leaves and rocks, and talk about them. They begin to learn about healthy foods and how they help their bodies.

6 Creative Play

Three-year-old children have vivid imagination. Creative play gives them an outlet for expression. Teachers keep dress-up clothes, hats and accessories in the classroom for students to explore. Boys and girls use puppets to communicate with one another. They build with blocks and learn to cooperate by playing simple games with one another.

7 Physical Development

Preschools generally have playground equipment for students. Children enjoy climbing and sliding. They need lots of running, hopping and jumping to develop their large muscle groups. Teachers organize outdoor games that teach the students to cooperate. Three-year-old children practise catching, throwing and kicking balls.

Karen LoBello is coauthor of “The Great PJ Elf Chase: A Christmas Eve Tradition.” She began writing in 2009, following a career as a Nevada teacher. LoBello holds a bachelor's degree in K-8 education, a secondary degree in early childhood education and a master's degree in computer education.