Early Childhood Development Classes for 2-3 year olds
words by Madeline Fairley
As children develop from toddlerhood to childhood, they work through a range of important developmental milestones. These include social, emotional, physical and intellectual phases. They develop the need to work on fine-motor skills for movement and voice, each an important building block to ensure they have a good start to schooling, and social experiences.
The Milestones of Development (According to Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Phases):
- Cognitive development: how the child thinks and learns.
- Social and Emotional development: how children react in social settings, and form and maintain relationships.
- Intellectual development: a child’s ability to learn and grow in areas of basic academics (i.e. reading, talking, and communicating)
- Physical Development: often broken into two subsection of fine-motor skills such as small action play with fingers and holding or playing with objects; and gross skills such as walking, running, and jumping.
As outlined by the Child Development Institute, play therapies, and early development lessons allow toddlers and kindy-aged children to develop all of these skills, and an independence in their own learning, before entering their school years. Play, art, and drama provide a platform for toddlers to develop skills in these important phases before they reach the school age.
Traditionally, as learning activities for kids, arts and drama have been somewhat looked over in favour of more academic activities. But more recently, parents and caregivers have started to realise the benefits of learning through development-based art and drama activities. Shore suggests that we have recently seen an increase in academic writing and psychological research into play therapies, drama and art classes helping children reach their developmental milestones*. In her book, “The Practitioner’s Guide to Child Art Therapy”, she suggests the need for artistic development in children of this age, referencing the ‘Terrible and Wonderful two’s’ and the ‘Play Age Years’ as the ages between 3 and 6.
Around the age of 2 years, children tend to start jumping into everything feet first…including off beds and couches! In terms of childhood development, this is simply showing that children are now starting to control both sides of their bodies and coordinate their movements. This is where drama and art come in!
Chatterbubs Classes at Speak Up Studio:
Drama and art classes for early childhood development allow children to feel encouraged and safe in their learning. Within these classes teachers can focus on developing children’s fine-motor skills through art, and coordinated movement through drama and dance.
Early Childhood Development classes will provide students with a space to show off their identity and each new goals in a light-hearted and creative way. In these early childhood development classes, children will be able to express themselves, and develop different ways of moving and creating.
Some games and activities include:
- Sensory games, textures and colours, catching and throwing;
- dancing, balancing, movement, and body awareness;
- learning differences (like warm & cold);
- colouful painting, art skills, and creativity;
- reading readiness and story telling;
- memory games and patterns;
- following the leader and group work;
- auditory training, listening skills, and counting.
Try this at home a fun, early learning drama activity at home
- Choose their favourite picture book and read it through with them.
- Ask them to tell you what characters are in the book. Who are the main people in the story? Who is the narrator of the story? Or who is telling the story?
- Once you’ve finished the book, ask them to think of their very own character that they could tell a story about. It could be an animal, or a person, or a fantasy creature… anything!
- Provide them with a piece of paper and some coloured pencils or paints so that they can then draw their character. (Provide a model for your child so they may feel more comfortable with this process)
- Once they have designed their character, help them write down a few things about their character.
- This could include the characters name, age, and where they live, what their character likes and dislikes, who the characters family is, and anything else they want to think of.
- Now ask them to tell you what the character might be doing on a day like today.
- From here they will be able to tell you a story about their character, and from their start to act out the story with actions.
- Tell them that it is ok to be as silly as they want to be (encourage dancing, singing, and exaggerated movement).
This is a great way for kids to become involved in a story, and learn the dimensions of story telling in a fun way. They will also have at the chance to be completely creative and develop their own sense of self whilst creating a new and exciting character. Kids can then have the opportunity to try their hand at acting, and being completely silly by making up a new story for their own special character.
Read more about play therapy and develop classes at:
*Annette Shore. (2013). “The Practitioner’s Guide to Child Art Therapy: Fostering Creativity and Relationship Growth.”