Curriculum

The curriculum promotes rich learning experiences for children to support development across domains. Rich learning experiences take place within the context of responsive relationships. The curriculum helps home visitors support the family-child relationship as the foundation for learning in all domains and encourages parents and families to engage children in play, movement, and active exploration. The curriculum also provides guidance for how parents and families can interact with children to extend their exploration, thinking, and communication. Home visitors and families collaborate to plan learning experiences and routines for children that build on the family's culture, language, and preferences.

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  • Three star rating graphic Moderate Evidence
  • Two star rating graphic Minimal Evidence
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Curriculum

Rating

Review

Partners for a Healthy Baby

Full Review & Ratings
Three star rating graphicModerate Evidence

Family-Child Relationship: Partners for a Healthy Baby emphasizes the family-child relationship as the foundation for a child's learning and development. The curriculum provides abundant guidance to home visitors about ways to engage parents in building relationships with their children through a variety of reflections and handouts (e.g., "Encourage different ways parents can be available as toddler's secure base."). Guidance for facilitating parent-child relationships is delineated in the "Baby's Development" and "Caring for Baby" sections and is also embedded throughout the curriculum. 

Active Exploration and Play: The curriculum consistently emphasizes the importance of play and provides guidance to home visitors and parents on how to engage children in ongoing active play and exploration. Parent handouts such as "Watch My Thinking Skills Grow" and "Watch My Play Skills Grow," and the "Detailed Information Pages" for home visitors, discuss the importance of play in children's development and include some guidance for supporting children's play skills at different age levels. For example, at 7 months, "Talk about baby's first play skills and why play is important;" and at 8 months, "Explain how play helps the baby learn." The parent handouts offer ideas to promote play and exploration (e.g., "Make the fun tub a fun place to learn by adding plastic cups, measuring cups ... She'll love to think of the different ways to make the water splash and ripple."). The parent handout "Children Learn Through Play" provides ideas for supporting children's learning. Similar guidance is offered throughout the curriculum to support children's problem-solving, observation, and exploration skills. Although advice for supporting active exploration and play is embedded throughout curriculum materials, suggestions for parents in the handouts (e.g., "You can ...") are often brief and not specific. 

Interactions that Extend Children's Learning: Throughout the curriculum materials, some guidance is provided on extending children's communication, thinking, and exploration. For example, parent handouts such as the "Watch My Thinking Skills Grow" and "Watch My Play Skills Grow" series describe prompts for parents to extend conversations (e.g., "Talk about the way [toys] feel, the sounds they make, and what color they are," "Ask your baby questions with the words 'more' or 'again' ") and to engage in responsive interactions (e.g., "Copy the different sounds the child makes and give him time to respond with something new."). Additionally, handouts to support language and literacy provide guidance on how to extend children's communication and language skills (e.g., "Encourage turn-taking conversations between parents and baby," "Talk about labeling everyday objects"). However, suggestions for interactions that extend children's learning are often provided as brief, general statements of what parents can do to support new play skills. 

Individualization: The curriculum includes some guidance for home visitors to support parents as they learn about their children's development and interests (e.g., "It is time to look again at the things you have been observing with your baby. I am excited to hear what you've noticed your baby doing since my last visit."). However, it includes little information on how to collaborate with families to create learning experiences that build on children's individual strengths or needs. Additionally, the curriculum provides only a few activities that build on families' cultures and home languages.

Three star rating graphicModerate Evidence

Family-Child Relationship: The curriculum consistently offers specific guidance and a process for how home visitors facilitate nurturing relationships between parents and children. For example, the HV Guideline for Preparation includes the question, "What parent-child interactions have I observed in the past that I will build on during this encounter?" Guidance can also be found in the Developmental Perspectives articles, which explain development from the point of view of the child to help the parent respond more appropriately to their child. Further, during each visit at each month of age, birth through 36 months, the Personal Encounter Documentation form has the home visitor describing their observations of the parent-child interaction in great detail (e.g., looking at things like holding, eye contact, talking, calming/comforting, smiling/laughing, serve and return, and play behaviors). 

Active Exploration and Play: The curriculum provides specific guidance on how parents can create ongoing opportunities to engage children in active exploration, movement, and play. For example, the "Children's Play" resource in the Family Fun series, discusses play as the "work" of childhood and provides tips for parents on how to support their child's play ("What Is My Role as a Parent in My Child's Play?"). The Homemade Toy series provides a range of activities to engage families in positive communication and play with children using homemade toys (e.g., Cloth Pin Drop; Bells on Their Toes; Fun with Blocks). The activities emphasize parents' role in encouraging children's play and exploration. Finally, the curriculum's monthly activities encourage parents to engage children in play, movement, and exploration. For example, at 6 months, the activity encourages parents to provide the baby with toys they can grasp and transfer between hands and to observe the baby's reaction (e.g., "Let's have you set some toys around her and see what happens."). 

Interactions that Extend Children's Learning: The curriculum provides some specific guidance for how parents can extend young children's exploration, thinking, and communication. On the Personal Encounter Documentation form, the home visitor records the extent to which the parent demonstrated play behaviors, including "Engagement" (e.g., the parent initiated interaction), "Encouragement" (e.g., the parent offered some verbal or physical support), and "Extension" (e.g., parent initiated an extension of the play activity). The monthly activities provide some guidance for parents on how to extend children's learning. For example, in the 15-month Fish activity, it prompts parents to "continue the learning during bath time by talking about fish, asking the child to wiggle and splash like a fish, and to pour water to and from containers." While the monthly activities consistently include guidance in the form of reflective prompts for parents (e.g., "How do you think she likes doing this activity?"), concrete supports to extend children's learning are not consistently embedded throughout curriculum materials. 

Individualization: Baby TALK describes the importance of building on a family's culture and home language. The curriculum materials emphasize engaging authentically with families and ensuring that supports are individually meaningful and relevant to families (e.g., Quality Confirmation Standards on Adult/Child Interactions and Curriculum). However, minimal guidance is embedded in curriculum materials on how to offer learning experiences that build on the families' culture and home language. Guidance to support a child's special needs is also lacking.

Parents as Teachers Foundational Curriculum: Prenatal to 3

Full Review & Ratings
Four star rating graphicFull Evidence

Family-Child Relationship: Parents as Teachers offers specific guidance, integrated throughout the curriculum materials, on how home visitors facilitate nurturing relationships between families and children. Various resources in the curriculum provide tools, information, and specific strategies for home visitors to support the family-child relationship. For example, "The Importance of Parent-Child Interaction," a resource for home visitors, describes how different types of interaction support children's development in the first three years. It offers strategies to support parents in these interactions. In addition, the curriculum outlines a specific process for home visitors to use during home visits to support the family-child relationship (e.g., "Parent Educator's Role in the Personal Visit" is a resource for home visitors that describes the home visitor's and the family's roles in detail).

Active Exploration and Play: The curriculum provides specific guidance on how families engage children in ongoing active exploration and play throughout the curriculum. Many "Activity Pages" (e.g., "Outdoor Exploration: Discovering and Observing," "Baby Discovery Jug: Dropping and Retrieving") suggest opportunities for families to support children in exploring open-ended materials, playing, and discovering new concepts. In addition, a variety of "Parent Handouts" and "Parent Educator Resources" (e.g., "The Value of Play," "Play Is Learning," "Feeling Safe While Exploring and Taking 'Good' Risks") provide strategies and information on how to support active exploration and play.

Interactions that Extend Children's Learning: Parents as Teachers provides specific guidance embedded throughout curriculum materials for how parents and families can extend children's exploration, thinking, and communication, particularly through the "Continued Learning" call-out boxes on the "Activity Pages." "Continued Learning" offers specific suggestions for parents to extend children's learning from the activities, such as asking open-ended questions and providing supportive language and ideas.

Individualization: The curriculum provides specific guidance embedded throughout materials on how to collaborate with families to develop caregiving routines and learning experiences that are responsive to children and families. "The Benefits of Activity Pages" describes specific strategies for adapting the "Activity Pages" for children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs. "The Personal Visit Planning Guide" also includes information on how to adapt activities based on a family's interests, strengths, and culture.

Growing Great Kids™ for Preschoolers

Full Review & Ratings
Two star rating graphicMinimal Evidence

Family-Child Relationship: The curriculum provides some guidance for home visitors on how to promote nurturing family-child relationships as the foundation for a child's learning and development. For example, in the section of each home visit called "Getting in Sync with My Child," home visitors support parents to reflect on their child's cues with a list of questions, such as, "What is my child feeling or experiencing right now?" However, in Growing Great Kids for Preschoolers, there is limited emphasis on family-child relationships as part of the activities in the Learning Pods.

Active Exploration and Play: Growing Great Kids for Preschoolers provides minimal guidance in the Learning Pods on how to engage children in ongoing active exploration and play. The majority of activities described in the Learning Pods are adult-directed and leave little room for children to actively explore and play in open-ended ways. For example, in a drawing activity, children are given an outline of a tree and told to color the parts with specific colors (trunks brown, leaves green, and fruits yellow), which limits opportunities for exploration and play with the activity or materials.

Interactions that Extend Children's Learning: The curriculum provides some general guidance on supporting interactions that extend children's learning (e.g., instructions on how to extend an activity). Some activities include suggestions for parents include revisiting concepts from activities throughout different times of the day (e.g., an activity on shape recognition provides prompts for parents to point out the same shapes in the grocery store). However, the curriculum lacks systematic support throughout the materials for how parents can extend children's exploration, thinking, and communication.

Individualization: Growing Great Kids for Preschoolers provides minimal guidance for how to collaborate with families to create learning experiences that are responsive to all children. The curriculum manual describes the importance of building on a family's strengths when interacting with children (e.g., prompts for home visitors to ask families how they are already supporting specific skills). However, activities in the Learning Pods specify sets of instructions for home visitors to follow and lack guidance for collaboration with families to adapt activities based on needs. In addition, minimal support is offered on how to collaborate with families to create learning experiences that are responsive to a child who is a DLL or for a child with a disability, suspected delay, or other special need.

Growing Great Kids™: Prenatal–36 Months

Full Review & Ratings
Three star rating graphicModerate Evidence

Family-Child Relationship: The curriculum provides specific guidance that is integrated throughout curriculum materials for how home visitors can support and promote nurturing family-child relationships as the foundation for a child's learning and development. Many activities support parents to respond to a child's cues and follow the child's lead. For example, in the section of each home visit called "Getting in Sync with My Baby," home visitors support parents to reflect on their child's cues with a list of questions, such as, "What is my baby feeling or experiencing right now?"

Active Exploration and Play: Growing Great Kids™ provides specific guidance throughout the curriculum manuals on how parents engage children in ongoing active exploration and play. Opportunities for play, movement, and active exploration are integrated throughout most learning experiences in the curriculum (e.g., suggestions for parents to arrange furniture to support exploration of the home environment, opportunities to promote outdoor play).

Interactions that Extend Children's Learning: The curriculum provides minimal guidance on supporting interactions that extend children's exploration, thinking, and communication during activities. A few activities include suggestions for parents to describe children's explorations (e.g., an activity for young infants encourages parents to talk with babies, even if they are not showing understanding). In addition, a handout for parents, the "Daily Do's," provides some strategies to support children's learning (e.g., describing what the child is doing). However, the curriculum lacks specific guidance throughout the activities for how parents can extend children's exploration, thinking, and communication.

Individualization: The curriculum provides general guidance for how to collaborate with families to create learning experiences that are responsive to all children. Some of the curriculum's activities highlight how home visitors can collaborate with families to create learning experiences that build on the family's culture. For example, "Cultural Practices and Responding to Infant Cues" describes how the home visitor can explore and discuss with parents how culture influences the ways that they respond to their children. However, limited guidance is offered on how to collaborate with families to create learning experiences that are responsive to a child with a disability, suspected delay, or other special need.