An early learning and child care curriculum framework is different than a traditional curriculum.
- In early childhood, curriculum is focused on broad holistic goals rather than specific outcomes for each subject area.
- Early learning and child care curriculum frameworks embrace children’s everyday experiences as the sources of curriculum meaning making.
- Early childhood educators use the goals in the curriculum framework to describe and interpret children’s everyday experiences.
- In early childhood, curriculum content is integrated, emerging from children’s fascination with the world.
- When educators notice children’s interest in exploring nature, people, places, and objects as well as print, stories, numbers, shapes, and patterns, and when they name the connections between these experiences and the holistic goals and children’s dispositions to learn, they are co-constructing early learning curriculum with young children and making the curriculum visible to others.
- Early childhood curriculum is embedded in children’s daily experience with their families and in local communities informing interactions, routines, experiences, and curriculum decisions in early learning and child care programs.
What is the image of the child in this community? How do we recognize each child as a mighty learner? How do our practices align, or not, with our understanding of these ideas? How do we rethink practices to align what we say and think with what we do?
These questions reveal some of the starting points that early childhood educators and communities have taken up in considering what the values, principles, holistic goals, and dispositions to learn outlined in Flight mean in their own setting. These conversations are shifting our understanding of curriculum in early childhood — from curriculum as something that is done to children, toward curriculum as a way of thinking about what children are doing in relationships of care, play, learning, and development.