PEPSI Lesson Plan ----- By Susan Nietfeld
GOAL: The parent will understand that our goal is to teach
the whole child.
1. Introduce parents to the PEPSI model
2. Discuss how PEPSI helps us view the child as a whole person.
3. Show how looking at the child as a colorful rainbow helps
us to see all of him/her instead of seeing just one side.
4. Help parents to understand typical development of a child
of this age.
INTRODUCTION: Shine the light of a flashlight or a slide projector
through a sheet of glass. Ask for response about how we see
the light. It’s a straight beam, it’s white, the light goes
through the glass, etc. Shine the light through a prism, now
how do we view the light? The beam bends and fans out after
passing through the prism. We can now see many colors in the
light, not just one. As adults we sometimes see children like
the beam of white light, we may see only one characteristic,
we may think that children are all the same, that they will
act the same in certain situations, or that they develop the
same ways. Children are not like the white light however, they
are all individual, each one unique in his or her own way and
each one has many sides to his personality and they develop
in many different ways. We will look at how the child develops
in five areas, the areas of Physical, Emotional, Philosophical,
Social, and Intellectual development. These areas are not listed
in degree of importance, as they are equal in importance, but
rather to give us a clue to remembering each area.
Let’s take a look at what the typical development is of a child
who is about 4 years old, and as we do, think about the things
your child does. See where you think he or she fits. But be
aware, all children do not develop the same. One child may develop
more quickly in one area, but not as quickly in another. For
this reason, we’ll talk about development of children from 3
to 5, adjusting the discussion depending upon the ages of the
children of the parents who are present on that occasion.
Since we see light in different colors as it passes through
the prism, we will use different colors in our discussion about
the different areas of child development, listing them briefly
on the white board for 3, 4 and/or 5 year olds.
P = Physical ( RED) A
three year old has learned to use his gross motor muscles pretty
confidently. He walks and runs in a balanced fashion with arms
swinging rhythmically. Three year old children can usually jump
down from a step and jump up off the floor, forward, backward
and side to side, sometimes imitating a model rather than in
response to a spoken direction. They can go up and down stairs,
but enjoy it more if they can go down a slide. Most three year
olds can ride a tricycle if they have had the opportunity to
learn to do so. They can throw and catch a large ball, but don’t
always hit their target. The three year old is beginning to
enjoy fine motor tasks. they usually hold a crayon with their
whole hand, and can scribble on paper. They are beginning to
copy circles and lines, and snip paper with scissors. and really
enjoy manipulating play dough, though they may be very hesitant
at their first exposure to it. They can manage a spoon and fork
at the table, but do not yet use a knife. They are usually pros
at undressing, and they can put on some clothes, but have not
yet mastered all the fasteners. Many children are toilet trained
by three years old but not all, and many do not yet stay dry
all night. A three year old’s typical language is easily understood,
consisting of short sentences with nouns, verbs, some modifiers
and pronouns. Their conversations are usually one or two turns
long per topic.
The four year old child has progressed in his motor control,
and nearly all love to play outdoors on trikes, swings and jungle
gyms and in the water! They are able to stand on one foot briefly
and usually go up and down stair easily while holding on to
the rail, sometimes marking time with their feet. Given the
opportunity, ball play becomes more smooth and enjoyable. Four
year olds are able to do form board puzzles and some large jigsaw
puzzles. They are beginning to hold pencils and crayons in a
tripod grasp if it has been demonstrated for them and can copy
some shapes and letters. They can pour from containers usually
spilling very little. A four year old can usually manage all
fasteners except sometimes belt buckles, snaps on pants and
the bottom clasp of a zipper. The four year old has usually
learned to use negatives in speech and has begun to ask more
why, who, where and how questions rather than just what questions.
They are usually able to take more than two turns in a conversation.
Five year old children love to run, jump, climb, throw and
kick balls and enjoy making up games to do these activities.
They are able to hop on one foot, and usually learn to combine
running and hopping to skip late this year. Stair climbing and
descending becomes more smooth with one foot per stair and often
without needing to hold the rail. Children at this age are usually
completely toilet trained, though some still have night accidents.
Tripod control of crayon or pencil increases as five year olds
learn to write their name and color within the lines, shapes
and letters can be imitated and sometimes written on request.
Scissors control increases as children learn to cut following
straight and curved lines. A five year old child will have very
good articulation and carry on a fairly lengthy conversation.
They use words to plan and carry out their play and enjoy telling
stories about what has happened in their home or at play, sometimes
real, sometimes pure fiction.
E = Emotional (GREEN) The
emotional area is not as easy to see or evaluate as the physical,
but the child does a lot of changing between the years of three
and five in the emotional area. A child of three years is still
usually pretty self-centered. Although s/he is beginning to
recognize the other people in his/her life, they are mostly
recognized for what they do for the child.
By four and five years old, a child begins to recognize that
people can and do things for others besides himself. They learn
that they, as the child, can do things to help others as well.
Children move from playing by themselves, to parallel play,
and then to cooperative play between two and four years of age.
By five, children can play a number of games and activities
in a group. Children learn to make choices between three and
five years of age, the choices becoming more intense and creative
as they grow older, and they are often accompanied by strong
feelings when “I’m right and you’re wrong.” or when someone
else doesn’t obey the rules. By the time children are five,
they usually enjoy working together to reach a common goal or
to solve a problem, but they all want to get their share of
the credit for a job well done.
P = Philosophical (BLUE)
One of the delightful things about a three year old is that
even though they may do things that are “naughty”, they are
not done maliciously, but innocently. The child is still very
innocent of what is right and what is wrong, and there is no
real intention to hurt others or make them angry. They are very
willing to please and are usually anxious to do what they can
to help. By age four , children are beginning to have a better
understanding of right and wrong, but things that adults perceive
to be wrong such as lying, cheating at games and taking things
are not done just to be naughty, but rather to get out of trouble,
to succeed or just because that is what he wants to do at the
Four year olds are still learning what is socially acceptable,
and his own needs are more important to him than society’s needs.
Five year olds are learning that when they follow society’s
rules, they are perceived as “good”, that often brings its own
rewards, and they like to be good. This sometimes leads to exaggeration
of their goodly deeds in reporting them to others, as well as
“tattling” when others don’t follow the rules. A child of five
is beginning to see that other people may need and want different
things than s/he does.
S = Social (PURPLE) Three
year old children are beginning to be more social and enjoy
being with other people. They begin to do more cooperative play
rather than parallel play and play dates are beginning to be
very enjoyable. Three year olds are more talkative and are beginning
to communicate all their wants and needs verbally and they are
beginning to form negatives in their speech rather than just
As children near four, friends become more important and their
play becomes more dramatic with lots of role playing and more
involved plots, often reenacting or making up stories using
their favorite television hero, Superman, Power Rangers, Pokemon,
whatever is popular at the time. The boys tend to be more aggressive
in their play, like their heroes. Children at this age want
very much to please and positive reinforcement and praise are
very good tools for encouraging behavior.
Five year olds are great helpers and this is a good age for
giving children some regular household chores that they can
assume responsibility for. Along with this is a respect for
adults and adult roles which they like to portray in their play.
Sentences like, “I’ll be the dad, you be the mom and I’m a doctor
and I’m going to work” are wonderfully common to five year olds
and make their play very fun to watch. Whatever a parent or
teacher says has the ultimate authority for a five year old.
I = Intellectual (MAGENTA)
As the child begins to talk more, the intellectual ability is
measured more through verbal communication. This age is characterized
by great vocabulary expansion and more turn taking in conversation,
and they stay on one subject for more turns. They are beginning
to understand past, present and future events, but tend to use
“yesterday” for anything in the past and “tomorrow” for anything
in the future. Children of three are beginning to enjoy fine
motor, pre-writing activities like coloring and sometimes cutting,
and puzzle play. They enjoy learning and working.
Four year old children are becoming more talkative and really
enjoy conversing with others, hence the “Why” questions that
four year olds are famous for. They use language to learn and
to express themselves. They begin to play with language, telling
and making up jokes and talk to and about everything, especially
their toys, whether they be dolls or trucks. They even learn
to manipulate people and situations using language. Additionally
they love music and enjoy singing. Four year olds are beginning
to classify things in their play , like all the red ones here,
and the blue ones here; or the farm animals in this “barn” and
the zoo animals in this “cage”. They are beginning to count
and learn the ABC’s and are understanding spatial concepts.
The four year old is very busy developing intellectually.
Five year olds have another busy year for intellectual development.
A five year old’s attention span has increased and they can
spend a long time focused on a task. This enables more intensive
concentration on figuring out how things work or how to make
something work to do what s/he wants it to do. This is the time
when most children want to learn numbers, colors, letters and
naming all kinds of things. They are more independent in their
personal care, more modest in dressing, and taking care of their
bathroom needs. They have begun to understand the association
between letters and words and reading and are often beginning
to desire the ability to read. Words they see often in their
environment are recognized by sight, like Stop, McDonald’s,
Walmart, and their own and family names. After discussing the
age development of the in each area we will look at an example
of a child’s profile to see how PEPSI could actually tell us
how a child is progressing and if we might need to do more intensive
evaluations for areas of concern.
We may actually use the child of a parent in attendance if
arrangements have been made with the parent before hand to be
certain that they would be comfortable with it. As an example,
let’s look at Janna . Janna is a four year old child who was
adopted by her family about two or three month ago. Janna has
a brother, also adopted, in our program who has Fetal Alcohol
Syndrome, so after Janna was adopted she came to us for screening.
These are some of the things we noted.
Physical area: Walks and
runs with a smooth and even gait, jumps and hops a little Enjoys
outdoor play, likes jungle gym and rides trikes Enjoys puzzles
and playdough Colors, but mostly scribbles Does not trace letters
or shapes Can snip with scissors but not cut on a line Has good
articulation, takes two to three turns in conversations Is toileting
independently, takes care of nose and hand washing independently
Emotional area: Cries when
mom leaves her Does not like to eat breakfast and lunch away
from home, she seems to feel that this indicates she will be
adopted by these “new people” Seems to prefer parallel play,
but becomes upset when someone doesn’t want to “be her friend”.
She uses this threat with others and punishes others with this
statement. Watches others play for a time before joining in
Will stop playing a game if it is not going her way or if she
feels she may not come out on top
Philosophical area: Is
aware of rules and tells teacher when others are not following
rules, Is beginning to know right from wrong Wants others to
know when she does something good.
Social Area: Enjoys telling
stories about what happened at her house, with her siblings
or animals, or experiences she has had, but they are often made
up Is very talkative Is very helpful to adults, not so much
with other children Does not do much role playing Has friends
at school and at home Does not clean up after herself without
lots of reminders or help
Intellectual area: Enjoys
figuring out how to put puzzles together, how to build with
big legos and blocks, and tells all about why she places things
as she does. Likes to group things together in her play Tries
to manipulate situations to her desires Does not like to work
in one area very long, hurries through tasks. Is learning to
recognize her name but does not want to learn to write it
If we make a little chart that shows where Janna is in each
of these five areas, it will help us to see if there are areas
we need to be concerned about. As demonstrated on this chart,
we see that although Janna is slightly lower in Emotional and
Physical areas, she is right on target in Philosophical and
Intellectual areas, while she has some skills which are high
in the Social area. It appears that her development is pretty
normal when we look at the whole child. She appears not to have
been traumatized by her experience of adoption although there
are some difficulties, and she is developing well. The fact
that she has some higher social skills indicates that she is
adapting well to her new situation.
We can see that Janna is a beautiful rainbow when we take the
time to focus on all of her rather than just looking at her
difficulties in the emotional area. We also see that she is
developing normally in most area and that where there may be
deficiencies, they are not great and she will probably grow
in those areas given a little time. In the meantime, we as her
caretakers and teachers can provide a safe and healthy environment
in which she can grow and feel secure. We can appreciate the
growth she has made, admire her resiliency and provide opportunities
for learning and becoming. This is our goal for all the children
we teach and with whom work. Each child is a unique and colorful
treasure, it is our opportunity to get to know them and help
them along their path.