Online Companion: Beginning Essentials in Early Childhood Education
Chapter 10: Curriculum Essentials
Chapter Review Questions
- List the 10 guidelines
for developmentally appropriate curriculum.
- Define emergent curriculum.
- Define culturally appropriate
- Is teacher-directed learning
ever appropriate in developmentally appropriate programs? If so, when?
- In the Reggio Emilia
model, what are the fundamental differences in the teacher's role from that
of most American early childhood programs?
CRITICAL THINKING AND
Chapter Learning Objectives
- To introduce students
to basic curriculum concepts and learn to apply them to curriculum planning.
- What is the connection
between emergent curriculum and developmentally appropriate practices
in early childhood?
- Do you believe that
a theme approach to curriculum planning is valid? Justify your response.
- To help students understand
the concepts of developmentally and culturally appropriate curriculum.
- Look at the Guidelines
for Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum on page 346 of the text. Summarize
them as though you were explaining them to a parent. Which of the guidelines
are easiest for you to remember? Which are the hardest?
- What issues are common
to the children in your classroom that could lend themselves to infusion
of multicultural content? How can you avoid a "tourist approach" to creating
a more culturally sensitive curriculum?
- To provide students with
several models of good early childhood curriculum.
- Research each of
the curriculum models found in Chapter 10. Compare and contrast them in
terms of developmental appropriateness; ability to be culturally appropriate;
appropriate age levels; amount of teacher direction; amount of child-initiated
activities; level of integrated curriculum; and adaptability to projects,
multiple intelligences, and learning styles.
- How is play supported
in the curriculum models found in Chapter 10?
- Research a different
documented approach to curriculum, such as Montessori, and compare it with
the High/Scope approach. How do they differ? Where are they similar? If possible,
observe classrooms where these two models are being used. Which did you prefer?
WEB ACTIVITY AND REFLECTION
Topic: Curriculum Approaches
Find the Web site for High/Scope at http://www.highscope.org/.
Research the Preschool Curriculum Project.
- List three implications
for curriculum development based on the findings of this study.
- Discuss the three models
studied here. Do you think the Direct Instruction model should be used at
any time in the preschool curriculum? If not, why? If so, when?
- Research one or more
of these six popular curriculum approaches to early childhood education: the
Montessori method, the Bank Street Developmental-Interaction approach, the
High/Scope Curriculum, the Kamii-DeVries constructivist approach, Reggio Emilia
approach, and the Direct Instruction model. What advantages, disadvantages,
or both to these individual teaching approaches have you discovered? Can the
strengths of various approaches be incorporated into an early childhood curriculum?
If so, how?
Reflect on These Questions:
- How important are these
longitudinal studies? How do they influence the way in which teachers teach?
- Why is evaluation key
to determining program effectiveness for each child? What kinds of assessment
tools could you use to track a child's progress? How can evaluating daily
activities help with assessment?
- Why should you strive
for careful planning, evaluation, and flexibility when determining a curriculum
for your students?
ANNOTATED WEB SITES
American Montessori Society
The American Montessori
Society Web site contains the history of the Montessori movement and Maria Montessori
and the Society's mission. Montessori publications, position papers, peace activities,
and public policy resources are also available. There is information on the
American Montessori Society's Teacher Education program also.
The High/Scope Web site
provides information on its curriculum model and a catalog of its printed materials,
such as books, preschool assessments, literacy assessments, and videos. The
results of the Perry Preschool Project, which is more than 40 years old, are
To learn more about the
Project Approach to curriculum, go to this Web site. The definition, description,
and structure of the Project Approach is spelled out clearly. There are Project
examples for preschool through grade 6. Resources such as a bibliography and
CD are available.
Search for "Cyert Center."
The Cyert Center for Early Education at Carnegie Mellon University is a program
modeled after the schools of Reggio Emilia. The history of the Reggio Emilia
approach, an overview of the practices in Reggio Emilia, and Reggio Emilia resources
are available through this Web site.
The underlying educational
philosophy of the Bank Street Model is available through this Web site. A complete
curriculum guide, description of the program and activities, publications, and
continuing education are also highlighted.
Answers to Chapter Review
- The 10 guidelines are
as follows: promotes interactive learning; encourages development of positive
feelings toward learning; is meaningful and relevant to children's lives;
has realistic and attainable expectations; builds on child's current knowledge;
is sensitive to cultural and linguistic diversity; allows children meaningful
choices; fosters exploration and inquiry; promotes social interaction; and
provides experiences that enhance feelings of success and competence.
- Emergent curriculum is
a process approach for curriculum planning that draws on the teacher's observations
and children's interests. Plans emerge from daily-life interests and issues.
This approach takes advantages of children's spontaneity and teacher's planning.
- Culturally appropriate
curriculum modifies the total school environment so that diverse ethnic and
cultural groups will experience equal educational opportunities. The curriculum
reflects the plurality of American society in general and the individual classroom
- There is a continuum
of teaching behaviors that is appropriate to any high-quality program. They
range from non-directive to a more teacher-directed approach. It is useful
for teachers to demonstrate or direct when information or materials are complex,
when the concept is unfamiliar to children, when teaching certain skills,
and when communicating new information.
- In the Reggio Emilia
approach, there are co-teachers who are considered facilitators of children's
growth and development and who ask a great many questions of the children
to guide the process of open discovery. They often do not have degrees and
are supported in their work by a pedagogista who has early childhood training.
Teachers are considered to be researchers as they discuss and prepare their
work with children. They use transcripts of children's dialogue and photograph
their projects, then display them artfully, using this documentation as a
form of communication. Teachers work very closely with the parents of the
children in the school and with the members of the school board.