Curriculum Development – An Introduction


(music) Curriculum is the framework that identifies learning goals for children, concepts and skills to be taught, teaching strategies, and instructional methods. An effective curriculum is organized, is intentionally implemented, is responsive to and reflective of children, is research-based, and is dynamic. It’s woven into all activities and routines and informs all aspects of an early learning program: environmental design, materials, schedule, assessment, and program evaluation. It’s a balance of planned activities and emergent activities. It’s focused on development of the whole child. Cognitively, physically, linguistically, socially, and emotionally. The National Association for the Education of Young Children has identified several features of effective curriculums. Consider the design of your curriculum as early childhood professionals share how they include each feature in their curriculums. Are you ready for that job?
As you’re massaging it it’s becoming more yellow. How many pieces are there? (music) (music) (teacher interacting with child) (music) Where can you find these things?
For your curriculum you want to make sure that you first know where the children are at the different skills and then you’re building upon those skills as individual children. You want to make sure the curriculum is interesting to children and that they’re engaged in the curriculum. I plan based upon my observations and I go through and I find out what areas I need to get more observations or an area that I notice that my kids are not progressing where I would like them to be. A really great easy example would be like fine motor skills. My kids are just developing how to cut, how to write, how to feed themselves, use that fine motor grasp. So what I do is I go around and I make sure that I have a really good positive observation proving that each child is developmentally where they are. And if I do not, then I make sure that I really focus on that area that standard, that category. And I design my centers and my mealtime and my conversations, and my music, and my outdoor activities, on that specific area that I know I’m not seeing the growth that we want to see. And sometimes I even send notes home to the parents and say, “We’re really focusing on this. What can we do together?” And get input from them.
I love you. There’s a curriculum developed for us. And we follow that curriculum as much as we can. But with the infants, we have to compromise it sometimes. Because we cannot possibly get everything done that we want to because we might have two kids that are sick or you might have one that’s really fussy. Lesson plans are written and we try to do as much as we can. But the first goal of those lesson plans: love, care, and tend to those children. (music) (music) We have to get ready to go by 9 o’clock. What do we need to take with us? We try to bring in real and relevant things that that they would have. Possibly in their home, like you said maybe they haven’t used before. And having them be in a way that they can be successful with using them. We try to always ask open-ended questions. Questions that might have them explore more in their thoughts. Maybe things that they weren’t thinking about. We want children to be lifelong learners and they need to be curious to continue that learning process. Teacher: Boo!
(child laughing)
We bring in things that maybe they hadn’t tried before or used before. And then that sparks new learning and more curiosity and we try to take things to the next level of what they would be interested in. Watching, being reflective each day on different things that you saw the kids do. We look at each child and try to meet their specific needs, but then also as a classroom try to bring in what the class is interested in. And it comes from watching a lot of two-year-olds. (music) (music) (music) When we talk about a three-year-old coming in and they have the desire to want to learn how to, say, draw a circle. Well they’re not, they don’t know innately where they are in their development. Then what I can do once I observe that and I see that that’s an emergent pattern coming from that child and how they have the desire to want to do the next thing, I can start to help them to understand how that shape works. And give them a lot of opportunities with learning experiences to help them to grow from this place to the next place. And it’s their progression and development. It’s not me saying, “Well you have to stand here and do the circle.” It’s all the parts leading up to that and then now we’re going to use those teacher skills and strategies to move that child and scaffold that learning to the next, to the next place. (music) Developmentally appropriate activities for young children…I think that that’s centered around everything that we do here. It’s knowing about development and it’s also getting to know the individual children. And it’s giving the kids a lot of hands-on opportunities to learn through play. Through socializing, through communicating with their teachers and their peers. I think the most important thing is individualizing and when you get to know the kids then you know what each one is capable of. So you can maybe have higher expectations for this guy over here, but she’s not quite there yet. So you want to approach her a different way.
Having a relationship with the child on their level really helps us to know what their needs are. If you listen to them and you play with them, they tell you where they are and what they enjoy doing. And when you find out what they enjoy doing it’s easy to meet their goals and their developmental practices by doing what they enjoy doing.
Child: Whee! (music) (music) We all have a culture that’s near and dear to us. And I think at the heart of it all is that everybody’s culture is important and equally important and should be equally represented in a classroom community. And it doesn’t have to be like the same bit of everybody’s culture that’s represented. But the part that maybe they feel closest to. I really like to connect culture at this age to individual people. That’s how kids can understand culture. If we talk about a culture that’s far away from us and that we don’t know anybody who’s part of that culture, it’s lost on them. So connecting culture to an individual is what really helps them to grasp the idea that people are somewhat the same, but also somewhat different.
We do have some dual-language learners in our classroom. In fact, that’s been a huge part of our curriculum lately. We have a couple of children who are from China, we have a Middle Eastern child and we have one little girl who speaks English and Japanese. So we have actually been trying to incorporate that as part of our whole experience. We’ve been inviting parents in to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear… a book that we know really really well to us in all different languages. And we’ve learned to sign it. So we’re really trying to make it special for those dual-language learners. And sometimes we do have to individualize instruction for them. (music) (music) (music) Ready? One big,
huge jump! You made all the way to the number… three. You actually see that we’re meeting a lot of learning standards through all of the interactions. Children in dramatic play are often acting out social roles or they’re characters from literature that they have really decided to role play. So part of that is social-emotional, part of that is the arts and performing. We see children working with numbers and math all of the time. We can see children basically in all areas meeting multiple learning standards across domains at all times. When we put together an activity and reflect on it at the end of the day, we typically see that we have about five or six standards just for one activity. So when we are in the art area we’re using tools, tools falls under science. When you’re working with something like finger paints, that’s a sensory experience. It can also be science, but if we’re making letters in it, we are then using literacy skills. If we’re talking about our creations, we’re using language skills. If we’re sharing tools, that’s social-emotional. So it really seems as though learning domains don’t evolve in isolation. They’re all fused together. And once you start to see how they’re interwoven, it all makes a lot of sense. Yeah the social-emotional part is really the biggest element of what we do. A lot of our children when they’re coming here this is their first experience away from home and having to interact with a large group of children, to interact with adults who are less familiar, it’s really important to learn how to express your feelings appropriately in a social group. Even for some children recognizing what they’re feeling. Sometimes big emotions are scary for children. So letting them know that it’s ok and giving them positive ways of letting them out, are really big parts of what we teach. (music)
That’s a good choice. Good job buddy. We don’t push, right?
Child: No. (music) (music) So thinking back to whenever we’re planning curriculum, we have curriculum meetings once a week where we meet as group, the teaching team. And we usually go through, we have observations on our form that we fill out to talk about the curriculum and then also any observations, what you’re seeing interest-wise of the children so that’s another way to tie it into documentation. We also have the GOLD system that we use for assessment so when we’re logging in observation through that system we can printout and see what we’ve logged in, what areas need some more focus, where we can kind of cater and develop the curriculum to the needs of the children. (music) (music) (music) (music)

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