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Preschool Curriculum Part 2

Curriculum is important, it gives you a path to follow as you plan activities for your students. Ideally, a curriculum should help you make sure that your students are receiving a well rounded educational experience. There are so many curriculum options to choose from, should you buy a “curriculum in a box” or follow a loos, theory based approach? How do you decide?

I’ve had this conversation with enough preschool teachers and administrators to know that it is an important issue, but the decision isn’t an easy one to make.  I’m going to share my research with you, so that you can get a better picture of the options that are available.

It is important to note that I am not endorsing a particular curriculum throughout these posts.  this series of posts is not sponsored by anyone and I’ve chosen the featured curriculum based on it’s popularity and the fact that the components are developmentally appropriate for use in the preschool classroom. 

Yesterday’s post introduced the Reggio Emilia Philosophy, the Montessori Method, and the Waldorf approach.  Today I’l cover Creative Curriculum, High Scope, and Innovations.  

Creative Curriculum

Creative Curriculum is one of the most popular preschool curricula in the country for a number of reasons; it is ideal for large preschool programs because it is easily paired with a related assessment tool, and it has been aligned with Early Learning Standards in all 50 states.  Creative Curriculum includes certain requirements for the classroom environment and instructs teachers on how to put together the classroom and learning centers.  It also includes developmentally appropriate activity ideas which have been aligned to early learning standards. 
Creative Curriculum strives to help children build confidence and creativity.  It encourages hands on activities and in-depth studies of specific topics.  This document is packed with information about the Creative Curriculum. 
High Scope

High Scope focuses on the interactions that children have with their teachers, as well as the structured routine of the day.  Children become active in the learning process by planning what they would like to accomplish, and then reviewing the experience when it has been completed.  The High Scope curriculum is also aligned to early learning standards, and daily activities cover topics of 8 different learning domains.  
High Scope includes an assesment to track each child’s learning and development, as well as a program assessment to make sure that the program as a whole is constantly improving.  You can find more information about High Scope here.

Innovations is a popular choice because the price accomdates preschool programs of every size.  It does not include an assessment or standard alignment tool, but it does include comprehensive child development research and theories to strengthen the teachers’ understanding of developmentally appropriate practice.  There is also a teaching guide that provides training on a number of professional development topics.  Click here to explore Innovations.
These curriculum options are just that – curriculum options.  Many programs create their own curriculums using methods and strategies from each of the approaches I have introduced.  The most important thing to remember is that your curriculum (including the activities that teachers implement and the philosophies related to teaching) is developmentally appropriate and provides high quality learning experiences where children are able to interact safely with a variety of materials!

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