Curriculum

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◀ Curriculum Consumer Report

Infant and Toddler

The curriculum provides guidance on how to set up rich learning environments and developmentally appropriate routines. Rich learning environments are nurturing spaces that support the development of all young children. The curriculum provides guidance on how to design developmentally appropriate schedules, routines, and indoor and outdoor opportunities for choice, play, exploration, and experimentation. Learning environments include age-appropriate equipment, materials, and supplies. They also reflect home cultures and are flexible to support the changing ages, interests, and characteristics of a group of children over time.

What do the ratings mean?

  • Four star rating graphic Full Evidence
  • Three star rating graphic Moderate Evidence
  • Two star rating graphic Minimal Evidence
  • One star rating graphic No Evidence

Curriculum

Rating

Review

Beautiful Beginnings: A Developmental Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers

Full Review & Ratings
Three star rating graphicModerate Evidence

Environment: The curriculum provides minimal guidance on how to design well-organized, engaging indoor and outdoor learning environments. It specifies setting up learning centers that emphasize different areas of development and providing an organized, predictable environment. Some "Gross Motor Experiences" (e.g., "Crawling Up and Down Stairs," "Playing Independently on Riding Toys," "Walking on a Balance Beam") include suggestions for equipment that would promote active physical play. The curriculum lacks guidance on the outdoor environment. Additionally, some "Experiences" suggest equipment that may restrict movement and exploration, such as a bouncer, activity rocker, or high chair.

Learning Materials: Beautiful Beginnings provides several examples of developmentally appropriate learning materials that foster infants' and toddlers' open-ended exploration and inquiry. For example, the "Experiences" specify a range of learning materials, such as nesting toys, blocks, play dough, materials of different textures, and pretend play props. The curriculum reminds teachers to consider books and objects from within children's and families' cultural backgrounds. However, it lacks guidance on how to select learning materials in children's home languages. It also lacks instruction on how to select learning materials that are accessible to children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs.

Schedule and Routines: The curriculum provides specific guidance on how to use caregiving routines as learning opportunities. The "Self-Help Experiences" describe how teachers can engage children while the children are eating, diapering or toileting, dressing, washing hands, and preparing for naptime. However, the curriculum lacks guidance on how to establish a flexible daily schedule centered around developmentally and individually appropriate routines.

Frog Street Infant

Full Review & Ratings
Two star rating graphicMinimal Evidence

Environment: Welcome to Frog Street Infant offers limited guidance on designing the indoor and outdoor environment. It focuses primarily on keeping the environment physically safe and free from overstimulation (e.g., bright lights, loud noises, too many choices). The curriculum also emphasizes the importance of giving children space to freely move. However, there is no comprehensive or specific guidance on how to design a well-organized environment to support children's active exploration or development in the ELOF domains.

Learning Materials: Welcome to Frog Street Infant and many Activity Cards offer examples of materials that could support open-ended exploration and inquiry (e.g., rattles, blocks, nesting toys, sight and sound tubes, scarves). Similarly, the curriculum package comes with some manipulatives that may be used for open-ended exploration and inquiry (e.g., balls, musical instruments, a mirror). The curriculum provides a few suggested materials for children with specific disabilities (e.g., simple adaptive devices to help older infants with delayed motor development turn book pages). However, the curriculum lacks guidance on how to select learning materials that authentically represent the cultures, ethnicities, and home languages of children in the program.

Schedule and Routines: Welcome to Frog Street Infant mentions the importance of following children's cues rather than using a pre-determined schedule. It provides examples of verbal and non-verbal cues children may express when they are ready for activity, need a rest, or are hungry or sleepy. However, the curriculum does not adequately discuss how teachers can build their schedule flexibly around children's routines, nor does it discuss how to effectively support children's development and learning during caregiving routines.

Frog Street Toddler

Full Review & Ratings
Three star rating graphicModerate Evidence

Environment: The curriculum provides specific guidance on how to design well-organized, engaging indoor and outdoor learning environments. Welcome to Frog Street Toddler provides overarching guidance on how to set up learning centers, and the Activity Guides offer weekly learning centers (e.g., Construction, Discovery, Library and Listening, Sensory Table, Math) to support toddlers' development across all ELOF domains. The Activity Guides also include suggestions to "Spruce Up Your Space," such as setting up areas of the room with a variety of activities, textures, and materials, allowing children to make choices, and providing open and quiet spaces. Welcome to Frog Street Toddler provides some strategies for ensuring the physical environment is accessible to children with specific special needs, but the curriculum lacks guidance on how to include children's home or tribal languages and cultures into the physical environment.

Learning Materials: Welcome to Frog Street Toddler and the learning centers described throughout the Activity Guides offer examples of materials that may support open-ended exploration and inquiry (e.g., blocks, play dough, dramatic play props, stack-and-nest sensory toys). Similarly, the curriculum suggests some manipulatives that could be used for open-ended exploration and inquiry (e.g., balls, beanbags, eyedroppers). Frog Street Toddler provides a few suggested materials for children with specific disabilities (e.g., simple adaptive devices such as pencil grips, clothespins for children with delayed motor development). However, it lacks guidance on how to select learning materials that authentically represent the cultures, ethnicities, and home languages (beyond English and Spanish) of children in the program.

Schedule and Routines: Welcome to Frog Street Toddler provides minimal guidance on how teachers can build a schedule flexibly around children's routines or how to effectively support children's development and learning during caregiving routines. There are some brief suggestions scattered throughout Welcome to Frog Street Toddler, including describing actions while changing a diaper in the "Learning Domains" section; following children's cues rather than a predetermined schedule in the "Nutrition" section; following the same daily schedule in the "Transitions" section. However, they do not offer comprehensive, in-depth guidance for how teachers can establish a daily schedule or fully take advantage of caregiving routines in order to support toddlers' development and learning.

HighScope Infant-Toddler Curriculum

Full Review & Ratings
Four star rating graphicFull Evidence

Environment: The curriculum provides specific guidance on how to organize indoor and outdoor learning environments that promote children's active learning. Tender Care and Early Learning guides teachers on how to build order and flexibility into the physical space (e.g., creating distinct care and play areas, using moveable furnishings and equipment) and support children's sensory-motor approach to learning (e.g., creating multiple physical levels, providing places for active play and quiet, allowing for stationary play). The Infant-Toddler Learning Environment DVD complements this information with video examples of how to set up and equip the learning environment and includes questions for reflection. Tender Care and Early Learning provides some strategies for how to make the physical environment accessible to children with specific special needs (e.g., how to accommodate wheelchairs, raising or lowering surface heights by shortening table legs or adding sturdy extensions). It also provides a couple of examples of how to include children's culture in the physical environment (e.g., reflecting children's cultures in the house area, adapting the sleep environment for families with differing cultural sleep routines). The curriculum lacks guidance on how to include children's home or tribal languages in the physical environment.

Learning Materials: Many of the curriculum materials provide guidelines and specific examples of developmentally appropriate learning materials that foster open-ended exploration. For example, Tender Care and Early Learning offers lists of specific materials to include in caregiving and play spaces (e.g., push and pull toys, balls, things to fill and empty, dough and clay materials). The Lesson Plans for a Strong Start books specify materials needed for "Group Time with Materials" (e.g., canisters, wooden or metal rings, nesting bowls, scarves). The curriculum provides some suggested materials for children with disabilities or other special needs (e.g., eating utensils with special grips, books with extra-large pictures). However, it includes only a few suggestions on how to select materials that authentically reflect children's cultures and home languages (e.g., providing dolls reflecting racial and ethnic identities of children, providing board books in children's home languages).

Schedule and Routines: Tender Care and Early Learning provides guidance on how to establish a daily schedule that includes arrival and departure, caregiving routines, choice time, outside time, and group time. The curriculum includes multiple tools and a process to support teachers in planning daily schedules centered around individual children's caregiving routines. The curriculum provides extensive guidance on how to support infants' and toddlers' development and learning during caregiving routines. The curriculum emphasizes that daily schedules and routines should be based on individual children's home schedules and natural biological rhythms. It offers the "Developing an Infant Care Plan Based on Parent Input" form to support teachers in gathering information from parents about their children's daily routines and activities at home.

Innovations: The Comprehensive Infant and Toddler Curriculum

Full Review & Ratings
Three star rating graphicModerate Evidence

Environment: The curriculum offers specific guidance on how to design well-organized, engaging indoor and outdoor environments. The curriculum activity books include "Innovations in Environment," which offer guidelines for how to set up the physical space in ways that promote exploration (e.g., space to climb, open-ended materials) and support children's development in the ELOF domains (e.g., spaces for children to play side-by-side, places for toddlers to scribble, write, and read books). The Teacher's Guides offer a reflective tool for teachers to evaluate important classroom elements that make up the environment. The curriculum recommends using images of families and cultures represented in the group of children as well as those not represented. It also invites parents to record lullabies, songs, and other oral language traditions in children's home languages to add to the physical environment. The curriculum lacks guidance on how to ensure the physical environment is accessible to children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs.

Learning Materials: The curriculum activity books include specific guidance on selecting learning materials that are developmentally appropriate and foster open-ended exploration (e.g., making toys that encourage action rather than passive watching, providing multisensory toys, offering toys that have a variety of uses). They also provide specific examples of appropriate learning materials for infants and toddlers (e.g., shaker bottles, boxes, sorting toys, dress up props, blocks, books). Finally, the curriculum provides direction for how to provide learning materials that authentically represent children's cultures (e.g., clothing, dolls) and home languages (e.g., books). The curriculum lacks guidance on how to provide or adapt learning materials for children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs.

Schedule and Routines: Innovations: The Comprehensive Infant and Toddler Curriculum provides minimal guidance on establishing flexible schedules centered around children's caregiving routines. It offers the following directions: allow children to follow their own schedules, learn about their schedules, notice patterns in their schedules, and interact with children during routines. However, the curriculum does not describe how teachers should do these things, nor does it provide any specific examples of how to support children's development and learning in the context of caregiving routines.

The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos, 3rd Edition

Full Review & Ratings
Four star rating graphicFull Evidence

Environment: The curriculum provides extensive guidance on how to design well-organized, engaging indoor and outdoor environments. Volume 1: The Foundation offers direction on how to set up the physical space for daily routines and play; sample layouts for young infants, mobile infants, and toddlers and twos; and a description of how the environment supports children's development in the ELOF domains. Volume 2: Routines & Experiences includes information on how to create an environment to support specific daily routines (e.g., sleeping and naptime, eating and mealtimes) and experiences (e.g., imitating and pretending, exploring outdoors). The curriculum gives specific guidance on how to include children's home languages and cultures into the physical environment (e.g., songs in home languages, pictures that honor the ethnic diversity of children and families). It also explains how to ensure the physical environment is accessible for children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs (e.g., environmental changes for wheelchairs, support for sitting and standing).

Learning Materials: The curriculum provides specific guidance on selecting learning materials that are developmentally appropriate and foster open-ended exploration. Volume 1: The Foundation encourages teachers to choose materials that support children's development and learning, as well as open-ended and home-like materials that can be used in a variety of ways. The "Playing with Toys" chapter in Volume 2: Routines & Experiences offers explicit examples of developmentally appropriate toys for infants and toddlers and that foster exploration and inquiry (e.g., grasping and mouthing toys, push and pull toys, blocks, transportation toys, animal figures). In addition, the Intentional Teaching Cards provide examples of developmentally appropriate materials, such as natural materials, building blocks, squeeze bottles, and stacking or nesting toys. Finally, the curriculum gives specific guidance on how to provide learning materials that authentically represent children's cultures; that are in children's home languages; and that are accessible to children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs.

Schedule and Routines: The curriculum provides comprehensive guidance and resources to help teachers establish a flexible daily schedule centered around caregiving routines. Volume 1: The Foundation offers an "Individual Care Plan" form designed to be used with families to create an individualized schedule for each infant. It also describes how to plan a more group-oriented schedule for older toddlers. Volume 2: Routines & Experiences offers guidance and vignettes on how teachers support children's development and learning during routines (e.g., hellos and good-byes, diapering and toileting, eating and mealtimes, sleeping and naptime, and dressing). Some Intentional Teaching Cards provide further specific direction on how teachers support children's development and learning during daily caregiving routines. The curriculum includes some explicit examples in Volume 2: Routines & Experiences of how routines may need to be adapted based on families' cultural preferences (e.g., swaddling infants, using bed boards); children's home languages (e.g., singing lullabies in Spanish); or children's disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs (e.g., consulting with specialist on feeding procedures and appropriate adaptive equipment).