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