Curriculum

The INSPIRE ACTION framework was developed to assist those responsible for administrative oversight of local early childhood special education programs to identify and celebrate strong program components and to identify those program components most in need of improvement. The development was sparked by recognition that many local program leaders (e.g., Directors of Special Education, elementary principals, some special education coordinators) have limited knowledge of early childhood special education and are unable to consistently determine the presence or absence of ECSE program quality.

As you look at the resources and tools provided here, consider:
  • What is the main focus and purpose of each resource?
  • How does this information align with what you currently know and do in your work with young children and families?
  • How will you integrate this information into your work?
  • How might you share or apply this information in working with: Children? Families? Colleagues?

Definition

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines curriculum as “the means by which a society helps learners acquire the knowledge, skills, and values that that society deems most worth having.”

The comprehensive curricular framework promoted by the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) includes four elements: assessment; scope and sequence; activities and intervention strategies; and progress monitoring. A curriculum framework is a dynamic system that should guide all aspects of a high quality program.

Professional Standards

Position Statements


DEC Recommended Practices
DEC Recommended Practices are a DEC initiative that bridges the gap between research and practice, offering guidance to parents and professionals who work with young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays or disabilities.

Minnesota Early Childhood Indicators of Progress (ECIPs)
The ECIPs are Minnesota’s early learning standards. Revised and expanded in 2016, these standards are a framework for a common set of developmentally appropriate expectations for children ages birth to kindergarten, within a context of shared responsibility for helping children meet these expectations. The ECIPs are aligned to the Minnesota Kindergarten Academic Standards.

Foundational Resources: Understand the Basics

The Role of Curriculum Models in Early Childhood Education
This ERIC-digest brief gives a general overview of what curriculum is, defines some of the major models, and discusses the importance of curriculum.

Minnesota Early Childhood Indicators of Progress - REVISED
Minnesota revised their early learning standards, known as the “Early Childhood Indicators of Progress,” in 2016. These standards outline what children should know and do from age birth through five years old. The following domains are included within the standards: physical and movement development; language, literacy, and communications; cognitive; mathematics; scientific thinking; social systems; approaches to learning; the arts; and social and emotional development.

Choosing a Preschool Curriculum. National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning (June, 2012)
This document provides information on choosing a preschool curriculum and implementing that curriculum.

Readiness Resources: Deepen Knowledge and Prepare to Implement

This article reviews the importance of curriculum and identifies four actions early childhood professionals can take to enhance curricula.

The authors of this research provide an overview of high-quality curricula and a list of questions to consider when choosing a curriculum model.

Using Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAPs) as framing, this resource illustrates how curriculum is one of five integral components in effective preschool teaching.

A brief research article on curricula, problems with curricula, and benefits of implementing a standards-based curriculum.

Although some of the information provided is specific to Pennsylvania’s early childhood programming, this document also provides quality definitions and descriptions of curriculum, assessment, and connection between the two.

Implementation Resources: Apply and Use

  • Linking Documentation and Curriculum, Results Matters Video (CO Department of Education)
    Christina DeVarona, an early childhood educator, illustrates how documentation helps her plan and set up the curriculum, including gauging children’s interests, understanding their learning styles, and expanding on ideas.
    • Early Childhood Indicators of Progress ◦ ECIPS 0-3 Family Guide to the Early Indicators of Progress.
      This document was created by the Minnesota Departments of Health and Education. The document is intended to support parents’ knowledge of infant-toddler development and to share this information with other adults in their child’s life.
    • FECIPS 3-5 Family Guide to the Early Indicators of Progress.
      This document was created by the Minnesota Departments of Health and Education. The document is intended to support parents’ knowledge of child development and in their ability to help their child be ready for kindergarten.
  • Preschool Curriculum Consumer Report

This report provides information and guidance to help programs select high quality, research-based preschool curricula that best fit with the strengths and needs of their participating children and teachers. It offers guidance on 13 components of effective and comprehensive curriculum, and offers ratings on 14 comprehensive curricula.

  • Odom, S. L. (2008). The tie that binds: Evidence-based practice, implementation science, and outcomes for children.
  • Odom, S. L., Fleming, K., Diamond, K., Lieber, D., Hanson, M., Butera, G., et al. (2011). Examining different forms of implementation in early childhood curriculum research.
  • Curriculum and Assessment Trainers

 

Suggested Reading

  • Early Childhood Curriculum: Planning, assessment, and implementation. McLachlan, C., Fleer, M., & Edwards, S. (2013).

Cambridge University Press. This book on early childhood curriculum covers the gamut of choosing an appropriate curriculum, planning to implement that curriculum, methods of implementation, assessing children’s learning based on what the curriculum is teaching them, and the research on which these ideas are based.

  • The Tie That Binds Evidence-based Practice, implementation Science, and Outcomes for Children. Odom, S. L. (2009).

Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 29(1), 53-61.
This article reviews the most effective approaches for improving outcomes for children and families. It also discusses the differences that exist between evidence-based practices and the practices of EI/ECSE educators. Methods for improving implementation are provided.

Extending Practice: Resources

Family Guide to the Early Indicators of Progress

Suggested Reading

Early Childhood Curriculum: Planning, assessment, and implementation. McLachlan, C., Fleer, M., & Edwards, S. (2013). Cambridge University Press.
This book on early childhood curriculum covers the gamut of choosing an appropriate curriculum, planning to implement that curriculum, methods of implementation, assessing children’s learning based on what the curriculum is teaching them, and the research on which these ideas are based.

PDF-Guided Resources and Support

Please contact your regional PDF if you have investigated all resources provided here, but continue to have questions or concerns related to this core component of INSPIRE ACTION.

If you have an additional resource that supports professional development in this core component, please share it with your regional PDF. Your participation in this site's continued growth is encouraged and welcome!