Get Set for School: Why Little Lukes Preschool Curriculum is Top Rated for Kindergarten Readiness

Get Set for School: Why Little Lukes Preschool Curriculum is Top Rated for Kindergarten Readiness

Three years old. How is your baby this big already!? It seems like just yesterday they were first learning to crawl, but it is such a joy watching them continuously learn and grow over time. Every time they hit a major developmental milestone, it makes a parent so proud of their little person.


Three is such a pivotal point in a young child’s early childhood development. It is the age when children start being introduced to standard education, so they often grow immensely at this age! It is also the age in which many parents start enrolling their child in preschool to help ensure they are ready for Kindergarten when it comes time to start school.


At Little Lukes preschool we often get lots of questions about our preschool curriculum, as it will be your child’s first educational steppingstone. We use a nationally recognized preschool focused curriculum from Learning Without Tears called Get Set For School. This program brings pre-kindergarten education to life through active, cross-educational lessons, specially designed manipulative activities that challenge children’s fine and gross motor skills, and developmentally appropriate technology. Instruction aligns with NYS standards and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards. Below is an outline of developmental milestones a three-year-old typically achieves, how our curriculum works to help your child achieve it, and how those skills later develop into more complex skills they will need to use in Kindergarten.


3-Year-Old Development and Milestones


Cognitive Development

A three-year-old is a little sponge, absorbing so much information around them. Now that they are to the age where they can sit still and focus for longer periods of time, it is our jobs as teachers and parents to start helping kids know what to do with all this newfound information. At three, a little one should now have around 300 words in their verbal arsenal and can usually understand much more than that. Not only should your child be speaking in simple sentences, their comprehension is booming and getting stronger every day. Three-year-olds usually enjoy listening to books and may attempt to “read” it on their own. They also are able to say their alphabet and identify basic shapes and colors. At Little Lukes Preschool, we use several different types of activities to help strengthen and widen these skills. One example of how we may do this is we will give the children a paper with a letter on it for them to color. The teachers will help them identify and say what letter is on their sheet. They are also encouraged to say a word that starts with that letter. We also apply this same concept to numbers, shapes, and colors. Letter, number, shape, and color recognition are important base skills, as kindergarten lessons begin extending language, reading, writing, and counting skills.


Physical Development

Gross Motor Skills

Most three-year-olds are able to walk in a line, balance on a low beam, skip or gallop, and walk backward. They usually are able to also pedal a tricycle, catch a large ball, and jump with two feet. Little Lukes lessons include activities to help children achieve these accomplishments and strengthen them. The children get a chance to play on the playground every day. If the weather is not good to go outside, we introduce them to fun indoor activities. A fun example of this, is our bucket activity. We set a series of shallow buckets upside down in a row and prompt the children to walk from bucket to bucket. This helps them learn balance and spatial and body awareness, steppingstones to well-developed balance and coordination milestones they will achieve around kindergarten age, like hopping on one foot and running.


Fine Motor Skills

By age 3, kids can usually wash and dry their hands, dress themselves with a little assistance, and turn pages in a book. Most preschoolers can also hold a writing instrument with their fingers, not their fist. We offer many activities that help develop fine motor skills. Coloring and painting are a great way to practice writing utensil grip. We also practice fine motor skills through sensory bins, where children are free to grab and feel anything in the bin, construction play, where the kids are encouraged to create structures through construction toys like Lego blocks, and many more activities. These activities develop fine motor skills that are later used in typical 5-year-old milestones, such as being able to fasten buttons, use zippers, and tie shoelaces.


Potty Training

Many children are ready to be potty trained at the age of three. At Little Lukes, we understand children learn this big step at their own speed. We do not require children to be potty trained in order to attend preschool. If your child is still learning about the potty, we will also continue this lesson at preschool to help them achieve this big step.


Emotional Development

Around the age of three, children start to understand both their own and other’s emotions. Many three-year-olds use expressions to let you know how they feel such as, “I’m mad!,” “I’m sad!,” or “I’m happy!” This is also the age children begin to share and take turns, but may not always like it. At Little Lukes we always start every day with ‘circle time.’ This is a dedicated period of time in the day when all the children in the classroom sit in a circle and the teachers encourage simple discussion among the kids. We also encourage this growth through activities that require taking turns, as well as pretend play with dolls. Adult-directed circle time is especially important as kids are anticipated to be able to attend to adult-directed tasks on their own for five minutes or more by the age of five.


Social Development

Three is the age when children begin to show empathy when another person is hurt or upset and may attempt to comfort them. They may also begin to ‘tattle’ when they feel wronged by another; and they begin to show affection for others on their own without being prompted by an adult. Most of our emotional development activities overlap with our social development activities, as these two skills generally develop hand in hand. Circle time is also just as important for social development, as the simple discussions help expose children to their peer’s emotional expressions, helping them to understand how the other is feeling. When they show signs of understanding and empathy our teachers take the opportunity to positively reinforce the skill. This is an important base skill to develop because kindergarten is about the age when children begin to develop stronger friendships.


Little Lukes Curriculum Topics


The Get Set For School curriculum by Learning Without Tears, is an interactive, multisensory and developmentally appropriate program. Our cross-educational activities focus on helping children achieve and strengthen their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional milestones by developing skills within the following four main domains.


·      Numbers and Math

o   Counting, patterns, sequences, matching, sorting, and problem solving.

·      Pre-Writing and Letter Order

o   Crayon grip, drawing, building, letter and number recognition, and letter and number formation.

·      Language and Literacy

o   Vocabulary, letter names, letter sounds, word identification, sharing ideas, and simple discussions.

·      Physical and Social

o   Fine motor, gross motor, taking turns, body awareness, spatial awareness, and listening.


The above skills are simple skills used to develop more complex skills required for Kindergarten age milestones.


Speak with a Little Lukes Program Director about our Preschool Curriculum


For more details on our curriculum and how it can help your child get ready for kindergarten, we suggest speaking with a Program Director at your local center. The best way to talk more with our Program Director is by scheduling a tour. Not only will you receive blocked off time to ask as many questions as you want, you will also have a chance to visit and see the center in person.


About Little Lukes Preschool and Daycare


Little Lukes is a leading Syracuse and Oswego County education provider with five inclusion preschool locations. The early education program includes credentialed and caring staff that specializes in comprehensive infant, toddler and pre-kindergarten development. Additional services include pediatric speech therapy, pediatric physical therapy and pediatric occupational therapy. Preschool locations include Dewitt (East Syracuse), Baldwinsville (Radisson), Oswego, Fulton, and Pulaski.


For information about Little Lukes, please contact us at