Childcare centers, academic preschool programs, and parents alike have a common issue: what curriculum is right for my children? Sometimes it behooves preschool teachers to consider a curriculum specifically for their students because these early years are developmentally crucial. Let’s face it — they’re not college students. They lack the independence to choose a curricular path that best suits their learning styles. This leaves preschool curriculum in the hands of parents, teachers, and administrators.
What does a good curriculum look like? How do you develop good curriculum? These are driving questions behind an increasing demand for high-quality education from early childhood forward. From 2016 to 2026, the employment of preschool educators is slated to increase by 10%. This research shows now, more than ever, the importance we place upon early childhood development. Part of this process is the development of great curriculum. This is what it looks like.
- Child-first, always: It may seem obvious, but putting children first remains one of the most prevalent problems in curriculum development. Childcare centers and preschool teachers (parents are guilty, too) often think about curriculum that they want to teach rather than how the children will learn from it. A proper curriculum must be developed around the children and that looks different per classroom, per child, per day.
- Differentiated: Jumping off from child-first curriculum as a whole, lessons must be specifically differentiated. That’s an education buzzword that means it must fit different learning styles. Children all learn differently, but the tough part of the preschool age is this: they’re still in the stage of learning how to learn. It’s a little metaphysical, but entirely true. Not only should a curriculum look into different learning styles, it should teach different approaches to learning as a whole. Think of it as exploratory personal academics.
- Expert developed: Listen carefully: your favorite bloggers and Insta-families aren’t education experts. Leave the curriculum arena to experts in education and early childhood development. We have no problem with blogs or family pages, but they cannot and must not replace curriculum properly formulated by subject and age group experts.
Too many childcare centers hash together “curriculum” haphazardly. Some of the most important initial learning will come to your children during these early years. It may not seem so, but they’re sponges and when a curriculum is well-developed and formulated to tend a child’s growth, they blossom beautifully. Is the process arduous at times? Of course. It’s education. Balanced difficulty begets learning and when nurtured properly, they’ll be outsmarting you before you know it.