The youngest of our students – who will turn three by next September 1 – attend school for a 3-hour Half Day on two, three or five days per week, and they are required to be potty trained. In this class the student-teacher ratio is a favorable 6:1, although the state requirement is 12:1. Since this is often the first time these little ones are being dropped off in a school environment, our focus is to gain independence and confidence, and have the ability to separate from the caregiver. Other social and emotional goals include interpersonal relations with teachers and peers, taking turns, playing in groups and participating dramatic or pretend play. Language skills are also developing quickly at this stage, and teachers will help students to verbalize needs and wants, answer open-ended questions and recognize their names in print. Children will complete games and projects to gain cognitive skills such as sorting, matching, patterning, identifying and counting. They will build fine motor skills by practicing with crayons, markers, scissors, beads, pegs and play dough as they begin to form shapes, numbers and letters. These little tykes get hugs and cuddles when they need it and learn that mommies and daddies always come back!