A Checklist for Early Childhood Curriculum

Selecting or developing a curriculum is an essential part of defining and organizing quality educational experiences for young children. Program managers and teaching staff members can use this checklist to evaluate and select a curriculum that meets the needs of children and families enrolled in Head Start.

The following is an excerpt from ...
head start bulletin logo

Does the curriculum . . .

  • Promote interactive learning and encourage the child's construction of knowledge

  • Help children achieve social, emotional, linguistic, physical, and cognitive goals

  • Encourage development of positive feelings and dispositions toward learning while leading to acquisition of knowledge and skills

  • Have expectations that are realistic and attainable at this time

  • Include children with disabilities in the curriculum

  • Build and elaborate on children's current knowledge and abilities

  • Lead to conceptual understanding by helping children construct their own understanding in meaningful contexts

  • Facilitate concept learning and skills development in an integrated and natural way

  • Challenge children with disabilities to attain goals beyond those specified in the IEP/IFSP

  • Permit flexibility for children and teachers

  • Encourage active learning and frequently allow children to make meaningful choices

  • Foster children's exploration and inquiry, rather than focusing on "right" answers or "right" ways to complete a task

  • Promote the development of higher order abilities, such as thinking, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making

  • Promote and encourage social interaction among children and adults

  • Respect children's psychological needs for activity, sensory stimulation, fresh air, rest, and nourishment

  • Promote feelings of safety, security, and belonging

  • Provide experiences that promote feelings of success, competence, and enjoyment of learning

  • Promote positive relationships with families

Is it . . .

  • Based on sound child development principles of how children grow and learn and grounded in the Head Start Program Performance Standards?

  • Meaningful for these children? Is it relevant to the children's lives? Can it be made more relevant by linking it to personal experiences the children have had or can have easily?

  • Sensitive to and respectful of cultural and linguistic diversity? Does the curriculum expect, allow, and appreciate individual differences?

Adapted from NAEYC

"Checklist for Early Childhood Curriculum." Curriculum. Head Start Bulletin # 67. HHS/ACF/ACYF/HSB. 2001. English.

Last Updated: October 7, 2014