The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos, 3rd Edition provides a set of resources to help teachers plan and implement routines and learning experiences for young children. It includes three volumes that describe the curriculum foundation, routines and experiences, and objectives for development and learning. The curriculum also offers additional resources, such as activity cards, songs and rhymes, and books.
Summary of Curriculum Review
- Promotes interactions, routines, and learning experiences to support infants' and toddlers' development and learning in all Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) domains
- Provides scaffolding strategies within activities to support children as they move through the developmental progressions
- Specifies developmentally appropriate learning goals and guidance on how to use them for the individualization of learning experiences based on children's strengths and needs
- Describes a clear process for ongoing child assessment
- Provides a range of strategies and resources to support family engagement
- Offers comprehensive standardized training and materials to support implementation
- Encourages ample opportunity for infants and toddlers to engage in movement, play, and active exploration
- Includes extensive guidance on how to design well-organized, engaging indoor and outdoor environments
- Gives comprehensive guidance and resources to help teachers establish developmentally appropriate daily schedules centered around caregiving routines
- Includes specific guidance on how to support the development and learning of infants and toddlers who are dual language learners (DLLs)
- Offers specific adaptations for children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs
- Lacks guidance on how to provide learning experiences that build on children's cultural experiences at home
Cost of Curriculum
The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos, 3rd Edition, with Daily Resources (English): $1,149
Coaching to Fidelity, Infants, Toddlers & Twos Edition: $199.95
Cost of Professional Development
2-day in-person course: $5,000 per site
10-hour online professional development course: $150 per teacher
Contact the publisher for the most updated information on costs of the curriculum and current professional development offerings.
Availability in Other Languages
The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos, 3rd Edition, with Daily Resources (Spanish): $1,149
The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos, 3rd Edition, with Daily Resources (Bilingual): $1,795
Center-based infant and toddler programs for children 0–36 months
Curriculum Materials Reviewed by Raters
All materials from The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos, 3rd Edition, with Daily Resources were purchased and reviewed in 2018. These materials included:
- Guide to The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos
- Volumes 1–3 of The Foundation
- Intentional Teaching Cards
- Mighty Minutes
- Highlights Hello
- Book Conversation Cards
- The Classroom and Family Resources Online Portal
Evidence Base for Child Outcomes
Evidence from research demonstrates that the curriculum has been associated with children's positive learning outcomes. The curriculum has been implemented and directly studied in early childhood programs, and the research showed significant, positive effects on children's developmental outcomes. Evidence of effectiveness has been obtained in rigorous research studies, such as randomized controlled trials or regression discontinuity designs. Research studies on the curriculum have optimally included multiple, diverse groups of children and teachers.
At the time of this review, there are no available published research studies on The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos, 3rd Edition (The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos). The publisher conducted a study that suggests implementing The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos for two years, along with ongoing training and coaching, is associated with growth in children's social and emotional, physical, language, and cognitive development compared to developmental norms. More rigorous research published in peer-reviewed journals is needed in order to establish evidence for positive effects of The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos on children's learning outcomes.
The curriculum provides research-based interactions and teaching practices to support children's development and learning. A research-based curriculum is consistent with research on how children develop and learn. Specifically, it promotes interactions, teaching practices, and learning experiences that research has shown to be effective in supporting children's development and learning.
Responsive Relationships and Interactions: The curriculum consistently promotes responsive relationships and interactions with infants and toddlers, which research shows are foundational to children's development in all domains. Volume 1: The Foundation (Volume 1) and Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning (Volume 3) provide strategies to build secure, trusting relationships with children (e.g., smile at children, show affection, talk with children, spend time playing with children). Volume 2: Routines & Experiences (Volume 2) offers guidance on how to engage in sensitive, responsive caregiving during daily routines (e.g., hellos and goodbyes, diapering and toileting). For each routine, the curriculum includes "Responding to What Children Need" with a brief scenario, teacher's thoughts and responses, and what the child might be learning. Throughout Volumes 1–3, the Intentional Teaching Cards, and the Book Conversation Cards, the curriculum offers several prompts and examples of how to engage children in joint attention as well as how to respond to children's language and communication.
Daily Routines as Opportunities for Learning: The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos provides comprehensive guidance on how to use daily routines to support infants' and toddlers' development and learning in all domains. Volume 1: The Foundation includes guidance on how to create predictable and flexible schedules centered around infants' and toddlers' routines (e.g., diapering and toileting, eating and mealtimes) and experiences (e.g., playing with toys, imitating and pretending, enjoying stories and books). It also includes specific tools to support teachers in the process. For example, the "Individual Care Plan" is developed with each family to help create individualized schedules for infants. Volume 2: Routines & Experiences gives further guidance on how to create an environment to support caregiving routines, how to create caring and teaching strategies during routines, and how to partner with families.
Play and Exploration: The curriculum promotes infants' and toddlers' play and active exploration, which research suggests provide a rich context for learning in all domains. Volume 1: The Foundation describes how children learn through play. It also guides teachers to provide sufficient time in the daily schedule for play and exploration. Volume 2: Routines & Experiences offers several examples of equipment for active physical play (e.g., riding toys, climbers, slides, push-and-pull toys) and open-ended materials (e.g., grasping and mouthing toys, blocks, balls, dough, painting materials) that would foster children's curiosity, exploration, and creativity. Several Intentional Teaching Cards reinforce these principles by inviting children to explore and use objects in multiple ways (e.g., cups, whisks, rocks, nesting toys, foam blocks, cardboard boxes).
Language-Rich Environment and Interactions: The curriculum offers research-based teaching practices to promote language-rich environments and interactions. Volume 1: The Foundation provides guidance on how to engage in varied types of talk with infants and toddlers throughout the day. It suggests using high-pitched and sing-song voice with infants, imitating infants babbling, asking toddlers open-ended questions, and describing what children see, hear, taste, and smell. Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning offers strategies to build infants' and toddlers' vocabulary (e.g., use gestures and concrete objects to clarify words; introduce children to new words through books, songs, conversations, and pretend play). The Intentional Teaching Cards include guidance on how to engage in back-and-forth exchanges with children, as well as descriptions of several opportunities to support children's emergent literacy skills. Finally, the Book Conversation Cards give developmentally appropriate prompts and strategies to read the curriculum's Highlights Hello books with infants and toddlers.
Promoting Emotional, Behavioral, and Cognitive Self-Regulation: The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's emotional, behavioral, and cognitive self-regulation. Volume 1: The Foundation offers general strategies to help infants and toddlers begin to regulate their behaviors (e.g., establish and follow rituals, redirect children's behaviors as needed, offer choices). Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning gives strategies for creating an emotionally supportive environment (e.g., label and talk about emotions and their causes, help children detect and interpret cues about how someone else feels) and for facilitating cognitive self-regulation (e.g., model self-talk to help children stay engaged and persist; provide specific, positive verbal feedback or physical support during challenging tasks). The Intentional Teaching Cards reinforce these strategies with learning experiences to support children's emotional, behavioral, and cognitive self-regulation. For example, "Let's Try This Instead" invites teachers to use a positive approach to redirecting children's inappropriate behavior during routines and experiences.
Facilitating Cognitive Development: The curriculum promotes research-based teaching practices that facilitate infants' and toddlers' cognitive development. The Intentional Teaching Cards provide specific prompts for teachers to support cognitive development (e.g., describe objects, comment about cause and effect of actions, encourage child to make comparisons). Volume 1: The Foundation highlights strategies to embed math language and concepts throughout everyday routines and activities (e.g., count with children, use comparison words, talk about shapes). The Intentional Teaching Cards provide multiple, related opportunities for children to explore math concepts (e.g., matching shapes, doing puzzles, reading counting books). Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning offers suggestions to teachers on how to scaffold children's problem-solving skills (e.g., provide opportunities to explore objects in new and creative ways, describe children's problem-solving strategies).
Supporting Physical Development: The curriculum consistently recommends research-based teaching practices to support infants' and toddlers' perceptual, motor, and physical development. The Intentional Teaching Cards include many, varied opportunities for infants and toddlers to practice fine, gross, and perceptual motor skills. For example, the curriculum features several learning experiences for children to practice the fine motor skill of squeezing (e.g., manipulating playdough, squeezing sponges, wringing out wet clothes). Throughout the learning experiences to support physical development, the curriculum prompts teachers to choose appropriately challenging physical tasks for each child, explain how to perform physical tasks, model actions, describe children's movements, praise children's efforts, and encourage children to keep practicing.
Scope and Sequence
The curriculum includes an organized developmental scope and sequence to support children's development and learning. A scope and sequence outlines what the curriculum focuses on and how the plans and materials support children at different levels of development. The scope refers to the areas of development addressed by the curriculum; the sequence includes plans and materials for learning experiences that progressively build from less to more complex, with the goal of supporting children as they move through the developmental progressions. A content-rich curriculum ensures that sequences of learning experiences include multiple, related opportunities for children to explore a concept or skill with increasing depth. Sequences of learning experiences should be flexible to respond to individual children's interests, strengths, and needs.
Scope: The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos clearly identifies nine areas of development and learning: Social-Emotional, Physical, Language, Cognitive, Literacy, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Social Studies, and the Arts. Cognitive development encompasses the Approaches to Learning ELOF domain. Volumes 1–3 provide an overview of young children's development as well as specific teaching practices to support children's development and learning in each of these areas.
Sequence: The curriculum provides guidance within activities on how to support children as they move through the developmental progressions. The Intentional Teaching Cards describe activities in the domains of Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Social-Emotional, and Physical Development. These activities provide evidence of sequence in all five ELOF domains. Each activity includes a "Teaching Sequence" to support children at different levels of the developmental progressions specified in Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning. This allows teachers to individualize activities to meet the strengths and needs of each child. Additionally, teachers can use the Mighty Minutes, Book Conversation Cards, and guidance provided in Volumes 1–3 to offer multiple related learning opportunities for children to explore concepts and skills in all domains.
Alignment with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF)
The curriculum is aligned with the ELOF. Aligning a curriculum with the ELOF identifies the extent to which ELOF domains and sub-domains are addressed in the curriculum. Curricula that are fully aligned with the ELOF are comprehensive and cover all areas of children's learning and development described in the ELOF.
Alignment with the ELOF: A thorough review of all the curriculum materials indicates that The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos is fully aligned with the ELOF. Volume 1: The Foundation and Volume 2: Routines & Experiences clearly describe how the recommended strategies, interactions, environments, routines, and experiences support children's development and learning in the ELOF domains and sub-domains. Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning provides learning goals and strategies to support children's development and learning in all ELOF domains and sub-domains. The Intentional Teaching Cards offer learning experiences to support children's development and learning across the five ELOF domains.
Learning Goals for Children
The curriculum specifies learning goals for children. The curriculum's learning goals are objectives for children's development and learning across domains. Learning goals should be measurable and developmentally appropriate. Measurable learning goals focus on skills, behaviors, and knowledge that are observable; developmentally appropriate learning goals are consistent with well-established developmental progressions. Teachers should be able to use a curriculum's learning goals to individualize learning experiences for all children, such as children from diverse cultures, children who are dual language learners, children who are tribal language learners, and children with disabilities or other special needs.
Learning Goals: The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos includes 36 objectives for development and learning organized into nine areas: Social-Emotional, Physical, Language, Cognitive, Literacy, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Social Studies, and the Arts. The objectives are measurable and developmentally appropriate expectations of the knowledge, skills, and behaviors young children develop and learn. The Intentional Teaching Cards and Mighty Minutes specify objectives for each activity, and the learning experiences supported the stated goals. Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning describes how to use the objectives with children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs. It also explains how teachers can use the objectives with children who are DLLs to gather information, no matter which language children use to demonstrate what they know and can do.
Ongoing Child Assessment
The curriculum provides guidance on ongoing child assessment. Ongoing child assessment is a process of gathering information to understand and support children's development over time. Information gathered through observation and documentation helps inform curriculum planning, teaching, and individualizing for all children. Ongoing child assessment can also be used to periodically complete standardized and structured assessment instruments to evaluate children's developmental progress.
Ongoing Observation and Documentation: The curriculum offers a four-step process for ongoing observation and documentation: 1) Observing and Collecting Facts, 2) Analyzing and Responding, 3) Evaluating, and 4) Summarizing, Planning, and Communicating. In addition, the curriculum includes specific tools to support teachers in the ongoing observation and documentation process. The Intentional Teaching Cards include "Questions to Guide Observations" (e.g., How did the child hold and manipulate the ball? How did the child separate from their family member?). The "Child Planning Form" provides a template for teachers to record observations and future plans based on the documentation.
Standardized and Structured Assessment Instruments: The curriculum encourages programs to use the publisher's Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment System (TS GOLD), which is aligned with The Creative Curriculum® objectives. The online platform, MyTeachingStrategies™, features resources related to TS GOLD that describe how assessment instruments should be valid and reliable, as well as individually, culturally, and linguistically appropriate. The curriculum also stresses the importance of regularly assessing children's development and using this information to plan instruction.
Parent and Family Engagement
The curriculum promotes parent and family engagement. Parent and family engagement is a collaborative and strengths-based process through which early childhood teachers, families, and children build positive and goal-oriented relationships. It is a shared responsibility of families and staff that is built on mutual respect for the roles and strengths each has to offer. The curriculum provides culturally and linguistically responsive strategies to communicate with families and to engage families in children's learning.
Communicating with Families: The curriculum offers specific guidance on communicating with diverse families. Volume 1: The Foundation provides several communication strategies that encourage both learning from and sharing information with families. Some ideas for sharing information with families include a whiteboard that describes the learning experiences of the day, a daily communication form, email, and newsletters. The curriculum also encourages teachers to learn from families in a variety of ways, such as by conducting home visits or using the "Individual Care Plan—Family Information Form" to learn about children's daily routines and activities at home. The curriculum provides support on how to communicate with families in ways that are culturally responsive (e.g., observe how families interact with their child; communicate with families to learn how their culture affects childrearing practices, beliefs, and goals) and linguistically responsive (e.g., provide messages in families' home languages, provide translators).
Engaging Families: The curriculum provides multiple resources to support parent and family engagement. Volume 1: The Foundation offers a variety of ways for families to be involved in the classroom and program (e.g., classroom jobs, family playtime). Volume 2: Routines and Experiences includes letters to parents and families that focus on how to support children's development during routines and extend their learning at home. In addition, The Creative Curriculum® Learning Games are activities for families to do at home with their children; they are available in both English and Spanish. The curriculum gives general guidance on engaging diverse families (e.g., learn about strengths and needs of each family to individualize approach, connect with social services and family support workers).
Professional Development and Materials to Support Implementation
The curriculum offers professional development and materials to support implementation and continuous improvement. Professional development includes gaining the knowledge and skills required for effective implementation of a curriculum. Standardized training procedures include initial and ongoing training to support education staff as they learn to implement a curriculum with fidelity. Standardized training procedures provide consistent content and delivery methods across training sessions. Curriculum materials to support implementation include resources that come with a curriculum to help education staff understand how to use it. The materials may also include resources to help education managers and coaches support education staff to implement the curriculum effectively.
Professional Development: The publisher, Teaching Strategies, offers comprehensive standardized initial training and ongoing professional development. In-person training options for teachers range from a two-day introduction called "Implementing The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos, 3rd Edition,” to more advanced examinations of specific topics (e.g., partnering with families, supporting language and literacy development). The publisher also offers in-person courses designed for administrators and coaches on how to help teachers implement the curriculum with fidelity. Online courses represent another option for ongoing professional development. These include 10 hours of self-paced modules at an additional cost. Finally, the publisher offers to work with programs to customize trainings based on program needs.
Curriculum Materials to Support Implementation: The curriculum includes a comprehensive set of materials to support implementation. The Guide to The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos orients teachers to the curriculum materials. The curriculum offers three volumes to support teachers during implementation: Volume 1: The Foundation, Volume 2: Routines & Experiences, and Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning. Finally, the Daily Resources provide teachers with more specific guidance on how to engage children in learning experiences throughout the day (e.g., Intentional Teaching Cards, Mighty Minutes, Book Conversation Cards).
- Fidelity Tool: For an additional fee, programs can purchase Coaching to Fidelity, Infants, Toddlers & Twos Edition, which includes The Fidelity Tool for Administrators and The Fidelity Tool Teacher Checklist. Both tools assess the fidelity of implementation of the Daily Resources, The Foundation, and TS GOLD.
Learning Experiences and Interactions
The curriculum promotes rich learning experiences and interactions to support development across domains. For infants and toddlers, rich learning experiences take place within the context of an engaging play environment, interactions and conversations with caregivers and peers, and daily caregiving routines. Rich learning experiences support and extend children's knowledge, understanding of concepts, and skills across domains. Infants and toddlers develop and learn by freely moving their bodies and actively exploring their environments in open-ended ways. The curriculum offers infants and toddlers ample opportunities to move and explore and provides teachers with guidance on how to interact with children to extend exploration, thinking, and communication. Rich learning experiences should be culturally and linguistically responsive and inclusive of children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs.
Active Exploration: The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos offers ample opportunities for infants and toddlers to freely move and actively explore their environment. Volume 1: The Foundation highlights the importance of children having time for play and exploration daily. Volume 2: Routines & Experiences gives many specific examples of learning materials and equipment that lend themselves to open-ended exploration (e.g., natural materials, cups and pails for filling and dumping, manipulative toys, climbers). The Intentional Teaching Cards provide opportunities for children to manipulate objects, investigate concepts, and engage in open-ended exploration (e.g., exploring water using cups or other props; building with large blocks; exploring bells). Many learning experiences do have teachers modeling or demonstrating how to do something, but even within these activities, children are still given opportunities to freely explore the materials.
Interactions That Extend Children's Learning: Many of the curriculum's resources provide guidance and examples on how teachers engage in interactions that extend children's learning. Volume 1: The Foundation offers general strategies, such as to describe what a child is seeing or doing, provide vocabulary, or ask children open-ended questions. Volume 2: Routines & Experiences provides "Caring and Teaching" examples of how to extend children's learning (e.g., describe changes the child can observe, point out cause-and-effect relationships, encourage the child to solve problems). Finally, the Intentional Teaching Cards and Book Conversation Cards provide several examples of specific strategies, open-ended questions, and other prompts that teachers can use to spark children's thinking and encourage them to communicate (e.g., model different ways to use objects, describe objects, invite children to share observations, ask simple questions to prompt children to think about solutions).
Individualization: The curriculum provides specific guidance on how to individualize learning experiences for all children. The Intentional Teaching Cards feature the section "Including All Children," which offers strategies to ensure children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs can participate. The Intentional Teaching Cards also include scaffolding strategies to support children who are DLLs. Volumes 1–3 give some suggestions for how teachers can consider children's cultures as they plan routines and learning experiences, but they give very few specific examples of embedding children's cultures within learning experiences throughout the curriculum materials.
Learning Environments and Routines
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.
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).
The curriculum supports cultural responsiveness. Cultural responsiveness is a strengths-based approach to teaching and caregiving rooted in respect and appreciation for the role of culture in children's learning and development. A culturally responsive curriculum prompts teachers to learn about each child's strengths, abilities, experiences, and interests as developed within the child's family and culture. The curriculum provides guidance on how to modify and enhance curriculum plans and materials to build on these strengths, abilities, experiences, and interests with the goal of incorporating each child's culture into the classroom.
Interactions: The curriculum provides guidance on engaging children and families in culturally responsive interactions. Volume 1: The Foundation describes how culture affects children's development as well as families' childrearing practices, beliefs, and goals. It includes general tips (e.g., avoid assigning cultural labels, understand your own belief system) as well as specific strategies, such as observing how families interact with their child and communicating with families to learn about their beliefs, routines, and interactions at home (e.g., "How is discipline handled?" "How do people interact with one another?" "Do they look each other in the eye?"). The "Individual Care Plan—Family Information Form" includes explicit prompts to support teachers in learning how families interact with their child within their home and culture (e.g., "In what language do you speak and sing with your child at home?" "How do you play with your child?"). Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning includes a few specific references to acknowledging culture in interactions (e.g., non-verbal communication may have different meanings in different cultures).
Learning Experiences: The curriculum offers some guidance on how to ensure caregiving routines build on families' traditions, cultures, beliefs, and values. However, it lacks adequate guidance on how to provide learning experiences that build on children's cultures. Volume 1: The Foundation includes an "Individual Care Plan—Family Information Form," which encourages teachers to learn about caregiving routines children experience within their home. Volume 2: Routines & Experiences provides some specific examples of how culture may affect daily routines (e.g., cultural preferences related to food, sleeping, and cooking). Volumes 2 and 3 include a few examples of how to provide learning experiences that build on children's cultures, such as encouraging families to share cultural music and songs or recipes for cooking activities to acknowledge children's backgrounds. A limitation is that the Intentional Teaching Cards, which are the curriculum's learning experiences, lack specific guidance on providing culturally responsive learning experiences.
Learning Environment: The curriculum provides some specific guidance on providing learning materials that portray society's diversity and authentically represent the cultures and ethnicities of children and families. Volume 1: The Foundation and Volume 2: Routines & Experiences encourage teachers to choose learning materials that honor diversity, depicting people similar to the children in the class as well as the diversity of society (e.g., books, puzzles, photographs, dolls, music, art supplies). Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning suggests teachers provide materials that recognize society's diversity as well as children's home cultures (e.g., various shades of skin tone art utensils; block people and props representing a range of jobs and cultures). Highlights Hello publications include images of children and families that represent society's diversity. A limitation is that the Intentional Teaching Cards provide very minimal guidance on using learning materials that reflect children's cultures.
The curriculum supports linguistic responsiveness. Linguistic responsiveness refers to teaching practices that support the learning, development, and engagement of children from diverse linguistic backgrounds. It includes supports for continued development of children's home or tribal languages by authentically incorporating children's languages into the learning environment. Furthermore, linguistically responsive practices can facilitate English acquisition. The curriculum provides scaffolding strategies to support children at any level of English knowledge to fully participate in the curriculum's learning experiences and environment. For infants and toddlers, linguistic responsiveness requires partnering with families to intentionally support the development and learning of children who are dual language learners (DLLs). This process includes developing a plan, based on the languages of the teacher and family, to support a child's development of each language in the classroom as well as at home.
Linguistic Responsiveness: The curriculum provides specific guidance embedded throughout several curriculum materials on how to support the development and learning of infants and toddlers who are DLLs. Volume 1: The Foundation includes brief information on dual language development and principles to support children who are DLLs, both for teachers who do and do not speak the child's home language. Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning gives information on working with children who are DLLs and includes a "Home Language Survey" and strategies to support children's English language acquisition. The Intentional Teaching Cards include further suggestions to support children who are DLLs, such as to provide directions in the child's home language, watch for non-verbal cues that signal a child's desire to participate, and point to an object or demonstrate an action as you describe it. The curriculum doesn't address how to support the development and learning of children who are learning tribal languages.
Individualization for Children with Disabilities, Suspected Delays, or Other Special Needs
The curriculum provides guidance on how to individualize for children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs. Individualization for children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs includes providing more specialized supports for children to access and participate in learning, social experiences, and activities. The curriculum's guidance for specialized supports includes specific teaching practices and ways of interacting with children, as well as adaptations to daily schedules, learning activities, and the learning environment. Individualizing for children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs enables all children to access, participate, and thrive in early learning settings.
Teaching Practices and Interventions: The curriculum provides specific guidance on how to embed intentional teaching practices in the daily routines and learning experiences to support the development and learning of children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs. Volume 1: The Foundation offers general tips around caring for and teaching infants and toddlers with disabilities or special needs (e.g., learn about disabilities to know what adjustments need to be made; work closely with families and specialists). The Intentional Teaching Cards feature the section, "Including All Children," with strategies to ensure all children can participate, such as adult support (e.g., demonstrate how to move through tunnels), peer support (e.g., pair children of different skill levels), temporal modifications (e.g., shorten duration of activity), and simplifying the activity (e.g., provide activity simple enough for children to complete).
Learning Environment: The curriculum offers specific guidance on how to ensure the physical environment and learning materials are accessible to children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs. Volume 1: The Foundation includes examples of how to provide an accessible physical environment for children with physical disabilities, visual, hearing, and sensory impairments, and tactile defensiveness. Volume 2: Routines & Experiences reviews how the toileting area may need to be adapted for children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs, as well as provides examples of modifications for toys (e.g., handles or built-up knobs, playboards). The Intentional Teaching Cards feature the section, "Including All Children," with suggested material adaptations to ensure all children can participate (e.g., use items that are easier to grasp and manipulate, provide books with highly contrasting pictures, record song into child's communication device).
Individualization Based on Interests, Strengths, and Needs
The curriculum offers guidance on how to individualize based on children's interests, strengths, and needs. Individualization is a process of planning and implementing learning experiences that are responsive to each child's interests, strengths, and needs. Teachers reflect on their observations of each child and then plan the most effective ways to support each child's learning and development. When learning experiences are tailored to children's interests, they are more engaging and meaningful to children. Because children may vary in their developmental progressions, it is also important that the curriculum supports teachers in planning learning experiences that are responsive to individual children's strengths and needs.
Individualization Based on Interests: Volume 1: The Foundation describes a process of responsive planning, which includes prompts for teachers to consider children's interests and engagement (e.g., What experiences interest the children now? Which materials are the children using most?). Volume 1: The Foundation and Volume 2: Routines & Experiences provide vignettes that demonstrate how a teacher notices children's interests and plans learning experiences around these interests. The "Child Planning Form" also reminds teachers to note children's interests as they plan learning experiences.
Individualization Based on Strengths and Needs: Volume 1: The Foundation describes a process of responsive planning. Teachers review observation notes, consider recent events and interactions, and analyze information about each child to develop weekly plans to support a child's current knowledge, skills, and abilities. Furthermore, the Intentional Teaching Cards provide specific scaffolding strategies to support children at different levels of a developmental progression. These resources help teachers individualize learning experiences to meet children's strengths and needs. Finally, the Book Conversation Cards provide developmentally appropriate prompts and strategies to read Highlights Hello books with young infants (e.g., describe what is happening in pictures), mobile infants (e.g., name anything the child touches on the page), toddlers (e.g., invite child to point to something as you name it), and twos (e.g., invite child to talk about what she sees in the pictures).