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Early Childhood Center

Early Childhood Center
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Curriculum Framework
The University's support for academic freedom guides our belief that as a demonstration program, our teaching staff have both the privilege and responsibility to explore and experiment with curriculum that is developmentally appropriate ( Copple & Bredekamp, 2009 ) [ 1 ] and reflective of current research literature on early childhood education.

We intentionally do not use a commercial curriculum as we believe there are many theoretically sound and developmentally appropriate approaches consistent with our philosophy. We therefore strive to make curriculum decision-making a transparent, organic process. We view curriculum as everything that happens during our time together with the children. We believe that each moment offers an opportunity to explore relationships and to create community that nurtures children, teachers, and families. There are always questions to pursue, hypotheses to investigate, and discoveries to celebrate. Curriculum happens all day, in every routine, action, and interactions.

The ECC encourages teachers to see themselves as researchers, carefully watching and listening to children as they work and play. We support our teachers' roles as participant/observers, action researchers, and curriculum decision-makers. Teachers are expected to know, understand, and collectively participate in on-going dialogue about how the program philosophy translates into curriculum decision-making and daily activities that demonstrate best practice and support children's individual needs and interests. Therefore, ECC works within a curriculum framework, rather than adopting a particular commercial or published curriculum.

Curriculum Influences
Visitors to the ECC will see concrete evidence of how our program is influenced by well-known early childhood curricular approaches. For example:

  • We strive to create a physical environment that is warm, home-like, and aesthetically pleasing ( Reggio Emilia ; Montessori; Waldorf ).
  • Our classroom centers and materials are carefully organized and labeled to facilitate the child's independence and sense of responsibility (Montessori; Reggio Emilia).
  • Our daily schedules provide ample opportunities for children to make conscious choices and account for their decisions ( Creative Curriculum ).
  • Topical investigations are selected, planned, and guided by children's individual and collective interests and take the form of increasingly long-term project work as the children get older (Reggio Emilia; Project Approach ).
  • Arts are infused into the curriculum in many ways (Reggio)
  • Curriculum activities extend learning outdoors and (Louv/Warden)
  • Our teachers conduct meaningful, integrated literacy activities that are a part of everyday routines and experiences. (Creative Curriculum)
  • Block-building is a highly valued activity as a foundation for building science and mathematical thinking. ( Bank Street )

Curriculum Goals

  • Provide children opportunities to explore and extend their interests and abilities
  • Help children acquire skills and dispositions they will need to become life-long, self-directed learners
  • Teach children to understand and practice tolerance and respect for others as unique and interesting human beings
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