For a long time, families would tour early Childhood centers and directors would proudly talk about the Curriculum that they wrote for their preschool. It still happens. BUT…
Slowly but surely, I am watching more early childhood settings investing in and implementing research and Evidence based curriculum systems. It is as if I can feel the earth shifting beneath us.
Imagine going into a public school, asking about curriculum and being told, “We have our own, self-written curriculum.” You’d be worried about that.What evidence do they have that they are actually teaching the required standards if they make up their own in public school? That doesn’t happen. Curriculum for children in elementary, middle and high schools are purchased and have evidence behind them. Why should we do less for children during their most formative years? We did less in the past because we didn’t have the tools.
Why are the “focus on crafts,” “weekly theme,” “letter of the week,” homemade curriculums fading in the early childhood landscape?
It is hard for me to admit it because I was once a preschool director with a curriculum I developed but here’s a tough truth – We had no evidence that the curriculum worked.
We had no evidence that the homemade curriculum actually and consistently helped children to achieve. We didn’t even necessarily use research based measures of achievement. When you know better, you do better and in early childhood education, the research now exists to improve our practices.
I hear a lot of complaints in the early childhood world about the rigorous process of being rated in the Quality Rating Improvement Systems and about so much focus on putting PreK in the public schools. I agree that the quality rating systems are daunting, complex and time consuming. I also agree that public PreK is on a journey that needs much refinement and oversight by early education experts. But honestly, in an era when we know that older practices such as endless cookie cutter crafts, letter of the week and themes that are not actually scaffolding learning do not teach children effectively, the shift was needed. As with any disruptive innovation, things will change, and adults will go forward mostly kicking and screaming. In many important ways, though, this is a change for the better.
So, when your early childhood setting tells you they are changing to HighScope, Creative Curriculum or other research based, formal systems, it is progress.
Embrace learning them because they are becoming universal and learning these curriculums will keep you employable.
If you are shopping for a preschool, ask what curriculum they use and if it is evidence based.
Early childhood education may not look like it did while you were growing it. It shouldn’t. We know better now.
You may also want to read Art vs Craft vs Project – What Does Each Teach Our Children?, The Disruptive Innovation of PreK in Public Schoolsand Good-bye, Letter of the Week.
Subscribe to the podcast “How Preschool Teachers Do It with Alison Kentos and Cindy Terebush” on iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, YouTube and more!
Go to my full website for information about in-person parenting and professional development session, webinars, podcasts and ongoing consulting for early childhood settings -
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This post first appeared on Helping Kids And Families Achieve With Cynthia Ter, please read the originial post: here