3 years old and up

When children are three years old, they start to focus intensely on their environment – discovering the world and people around them.

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Children go through an immense change when they approach their third year of age. Before then, they have been learning and honing the skills they need to be able to move around on their own. When children are three years old, they start to focus intensely on their environment – discovering the world and people around them.

The most important thing for the children at this stage is to provide an orderly, safe and stimulating environment where they are free to explore and develop. It is also important to ensure that children of different ages are grouped together, as the younger children are then triggered by their intrinsic drive to observe and copy the actions of the older children. This helps them develop their skills much faster. The Montessori method of education has many teaching materials and techniques specially developed for children three years old and up.

Another important shift in the child’s view of the world is their growing understanding of and participation in social interactions with the people around them. Key to this is the child’s conscious separation of himself and the “other”: different people with different desires and motivations. Learning to communicate with them through language becomes increasingly more vital, and as such receives extra attention.

Children at this stage and age are very sensitive to changes in their cognitive flexibility, creativity, placement and self-control. Between the ages of 0 to 4,5 years, their senses and perceptions are honed, coarse and fine motor skills are developed and expanded, and it is much easier to learn multiple languages. This offers a wonderful opportunity for their education.

The primary goal at this point is not to overload the children with more and more knowledge, but to offer them a stimulating and structured environment, where they are able to develop in a way that suits them best.

Casa is one of the pioneering schools in the Netherlands that offer these educational opportunities to three year old children. This is due to Tessa Wessel’s (one of Casa’s founders) extensive educational and work experience in teaching children of three years and up in the United States.

Thankfully, the value of proper pre-school learning has been officially accepted in the broader context of education. The Dutch Education Council has been advocating and proposing a first-rate pedagogic option for children and parents who wish to take advantage of this stage of the child’s learning process. Their publication: “Naar een nieuwe kleuterperiode in de basisschool” was presented to the Ministry of Education on the 26th of May 2010. This publication is unfortunately not available in English, but a link to it is available at the bottom of this page.