Curiosity Corner, 2nd Edition offers learning experiences to expand children's vocabularies and build math, science, art, music, and interpersonal skills. The curriculum is organized around 18 thematic units, and Theme Guides include daily lesson plans for each instructional component as well as materials lists. The Teacher's Manual provides an overview of the curriculum, program objectives, and guidance for each instructional component.
Summary of Curriculum Review
- Promotes research-based teaching practices in all Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) domains, especially in the domains of Social and Emotional Development, Language and Communication, and Literacy
- Specifies developmentally appropriate learning goals for each unit
- Promotes ongoing observation of children's learning and development
- Provides a range of strategies and resources to support parent and family engagement
- Offers comprehensive standardized training and materials to support implementation
- Includes specific prompts to extend children's learning throughout activities
- Moderately aligned with the ELOF but lacks comprehensive guidance in the following sub-domains: Initiative and Curiosity, Creativity, and Health, Safety, and Nutrition
- Lacks specific guidance on how to establish well-organized, engaging indoor and outdoor environments
- Provides limited to no guidance on culturally responsive interactions, learning experiences, and materials
- Provides limited guidance on how to support the development and learning of children who are dual language learners (DLLs)
- Provides minimal guidance on how to adapt learning experiences to support the development and learning of children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs
- Lacks guidance on how to individualize learning experiences based on children's interests, strengths, and needs
Cost of Curriculum
Curiosity Corner, 2nd Edition: $3,495 per classroom kit
Cost of Professional Development
Costs for on-site and online professional development are not publicly available on the publisher's website.
Contact the publisher for the most updated information on costs of the curriculum and current professional development offerings.
Availability in Other Languages
Curiosity Corner, 2nd Edition is only available in English.
Center-based preschool programs for children 3–5 years old
Curriculum Materials Reviewed by Raters
All materials from Curiosity Corner, 2nd Edition were purchased and reviewed in 2018. These materials included:
- Teacher's Manual
- 18 Theme Guides
- Concepts of Print books
- Home Links videos
- Curiosity Corner software
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, Curiosity Corner, 2nd Edition (Curiosity Corner) has been evaluated in one published research study, the report of the Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research (PCER) Consortium (PCER Consortium, 2008).
Rigorous Design: Curiosity Corner was evaluated using a randomized controlled trial.
Sample and Generalizability: The sample was racially and ethnically diverse. Children in the sample attended public preschools, Head Start, and child care programs in three different states. Information on socio-economic status was not provided.
Fidelity of Implementation: The teachers received an initial training as well as ongoing feedback and support during the program year. Trainers conducted three implementation visits, during which they observed and provided feedback on teachers' instructional practices and classroom environments. A publisher-developed curriculum fidelity instrument was used by trainers during implementation visits. The researchers used data from this instrument to rate each classroom on the Consortium's global fidelity measure. Implementation fidelity was assessed as moderate on this fidelity measure (2.0 on a 3-point scale).
Child Outcomes: The PCER study investigated the effects of Curiosity Corner on math, oral language, literacy, phonological awareness, and behavioral child outcomes in preschool and kindergarten. The study found no statistically significant effects on any of these child outcomes in preschool. The study found that children in kindergarten who had participated in preschool classrooms that implemented the Curiosity Corner curriculum had higher scores on two of three measures of literacy development than children in kindergarten who had not experienced the Curiosity Corner curriculum in preschool classrooms. There were no other statistically significant effects on child outcomes in kindergarten.
Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research (PCER) Consortium. (2008). Chapter 5. Curiosity Corner: Success for All Foundation. In Effects of Preschool Curriculum Programs on School Readiness (pp. 75–83). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
The curriculum provides research-based content 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 provides rich content, teaching practices, and learning experiences that research has shown to be effective in supporting children's development and learning. A research-based curriculum focuses on domain-specific, developmentally appropriate content and skills that contribute to children's long-range development in each domain.
Approaches to Learning: Curiosity Corner promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's self-regulation and executive functioning skills. The curriculum provides guidance on classroom organization, including a suggested daily schedule and ideas for transitions between activities. The Teacher's Manual offers classroom management strategies such as team cooperation goals and signs/signals (Zero Noise Signals). Children develop executive functioning skills through daily choices during Greetings, Readings & Writings, and Plan & Play, as well as Brain Games specifically designed to scaffold executive functioning skills (e.g., I Spy, What's the Magic Word). Getting Along Together activities (e.g., Stay Cool Steps) help children learn to regulate their emotions and develop problem-solving skills. However, the curriculum includes limited opportunities to engage children in child-initiated play and activities based on their interests. While children select their own learning areas (Learning Labs) during Greetings, Readings & Writings, this part of the day is a very short period (10 minutes in a part-day schedule), and the Plan & Play (dramatic play) scenarios are offered by the teacher.
Social and Emotional Development: The curriculum consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's social and emotional development. Getting Along Together activities are intentionally sequenced learning experiences that promote social and emotional development. For example, learning experiences such as "Using I Messages" and "Naming Others' Feelings" provide formal opportunities for children to practice social interactions. Other learning experiences (e.g., Learning Labs and Plan & Play) offer informal opportunities for such practice. Each unit includes a social and emotional development vocabulary list, and Getting Along Together activities utilize these words. The curriculum also includes guidance to support children as they learn to regulate their emotions and use problem-solving skills to resolve conflicts. Even so, the curriculum provides limited guidance on how to build secure, trusting relationships and culturally and linguistically responsive practices.
Language and Communication: Curiosity Corner consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children in developing language and communication skills. The instructional components (e.g., Greetings, Readings & Writings, Plan & Play, Clues & Questions) described in the Teacher's Manual and Theme Guides provide many formal and informal ways for children to engage in rich oral language exchanges with adults and peers. Story Telling and Retelling (STaR) plans describe ways to engage children in interactive read-alouds that allow them to hear, use, and understand complex language. To support children's vocabulary development, the curriculum offers multiple vocabulary lists for each unit (e.g., Wonderful Words, theme-related, STaR, Getting Along Together) and explicit instruction for vocabulary development within the context of each unit. In addition, Rhyme Time activities (e.g., "Baa, Baa Black Sheep," "My Mirror") promote phonological awareness in playful ways.
Literacy: The curriculum consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's literacy development. It offers varied and meaningful opportunities to discuss, use, and make printed materials. For example, daily activities include signing-in, "reading" the Daily Message, and engaging in STaR activities. STaR activities support literacy learning during daily read-alouds, such as previewing the story, asking various types of questions, and retelling to aid comprehension. Activities within the Instructional Components, such as Learning with Curiosity and the Daily Message, integrate additional research-based practices (e.g., using modeled writing, examining concepts of print, building alphabet knowledge).
Mathematics Development: Curiosity Corner promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's development of mathematical concepts and skills. Math Moments and Math Lab provide intentionally planned, daily math learning experiences that include sequences based on children's developmental progressions. They also offer opportunities to practice mathematical skills and concepts and to use math vocabulary. For example, Math Moments begin with rote counting practice (Count with Curiosity), followed by direct instruction of a concept or skill (Active Instruction), and then children work with a partner to explore the concept or to play a related game (Partner Practice). Math Moments also ask children to apply previously learned concepts and skills to help Curiosity Cat (the program's mascot) solve a problem. The curriculum includes math words within unit vocabulary lists, as well as guidance on how to model and facilitate math talk with children. However, Math Moments and Math Lab are highly structured, offering few opportunities for children to engage in inquiry and creative invention.
Scientific Reasoning: The curriculum promotes research-based teaching strategies to support children's development of scientific reasoning. Science Lab and small group activities offer hands-on science learning experiences that support the development of children's science skills. They allow children to construct knowledge through social interactions with adults and peers. Learning Lab Facilitation Guides provide prompts for teachers to support the development of important inquiry skills, such as making observations, asking questions, and gathering information (e.g., What happened when you mixed the red and yellow water? How will it change if we add more?). The curriculum encourages children to use language and other forms of communication to describe and document their work in the Science Lab (e.g., discuss, draw, or write about your observations). A limitation is that science experiences, including Science Lab, have specific instructions for children to follow. This leaves little room for teachers to build on children's previous experiences and interests or facilitate open-ended investigation. Additionally, other than in science-related units (e.g., Roots and Shoots, Fall into Fall, Healthy Me!), the curriculum does not provide children with multiple, varied, conceptually-related learning experiences in science.
Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development: Curiosity Corner promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's development in this domain. The Teacher's Manual provides general guidance for setting up a safe indoor environment that encourages active physical exploration. Each thematic unit includes daily Move It! activities and suggestions for Outdoor Play/Gross Motor activities that offer regular opportunities to participate in moderate to vigorous physical activities and to practice new physical skills. Most Move It! activities increase children's cognitive understanding of movement. For example, in response to the song "Sammy," children act out different ways they can locomote to the store, such as flying, running, and hopping. The curriculum promotes fine motor skills in Learning Labs (e.g., Writing, Puzzles & Games, Art) and Plan & Play. The Healthy You! unit offers multiple strategies to introduce children to a broad range of health, safety, and nutrition topics. However, the curriculum lacks guidance on creating a safe outdoor environment that encourages physical activity and intentional teaching practices to support children's development of physical skills (e.g., practicing specific skills, providing children individualized feedback).
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: Curiosity Corner clearly identifies nine developmental domains: Personal/Emotional, Language/Literacy, Interpersonal/Social, Cognitive, Creative, Mathematical, Science, Physical, and Social Studies. Each Theme Guide provides detailed guidance for daily lesson plans and learning activities to support children's development in these domains.
Sequence: The curriculum provides a sequence of learning experiences that progressively builds children's knowledge and skills as they move through the following ELOF domains: Approaches to Learning, Social and Emotional Development, Language and Communication, Literacy, and Mathematics. However, for some aspects of Scientific Reasoning and Perceptual, Physical, and Motor Development, it is unclear how the sequences of learning experiences gradually build children's skills as they move through the developmental progressions. In the Science domain, the curriculum lacks multiple, related opportunities for children to explore concepts and skills. In addition, the curriculum lacks guidance on how to individualize the sequence of learning experiences based on children's individual strengths and needs.
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 in relation to the ELOF domains and sub-domains indicates that Curiosity Corner is mostly aligned with the ELOF. The learning experiences described in the Theme Guides support children across the majority of ELOF sub-domains. Learning Labs (e.g., Letter, Math, Science) also provide opportunities for children to practice domain-specific skills. The curriculum partially addresses the following ELOF sub-domains: Initiative and Curiosity; Creativity; and Health, Safety, and Nutrition.
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 (DLLs), children who are tribal language learners, and children with disabilities or other special needs.
Learning Goals: The Child Assessment Tool provided in the Teacher's Manual identifies measurable, developmentally appropriate objectives that serve as learning goals for each of the curriculum's domains. In addition, the front matter of each Theme Guide provides a visual map that organizes the objectives by the domains identified in the curriculum. While the learning activities support children in making progress toward the learning goals, the goals are not explicitly integrated or connected with the activities. In addition, the curriculum lacks guidance on how to use learning goals to individualize learning experiences for all children.
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 Teacher's Manual describes a process for observing, documenting, and reflecting on children's development, and using this information to monitor children's development and learning. For example, the curriculum suggests teachers use periodic comprehensive evaluation of children's progress in various developmental domains as well as ongoing observation and documentation. The curriculum provides general guidance on how to assess children's progress (e.g., use the provided Unit Record Form throughout the day to note children's demonstration of expressive vocabulary, oral expression, and Getting Along Together behaviors; collect a variety of work samples and photos of construction). However, guidance is not provided on how to use observation and documentation to inform curriculum planning.
Standardized and Structured Assessment Instruments: The Teacher's Manual provides guidance on using the curriculum's structured assessment instrument (Curiosity Corner, 2nd Edition Online Data Tools) to regularly assess children's developmental progress and inform planning. It explains that teachers should use hard copies of the Unit Record Forms to record children's progress in expressive vocabulary and Getting Along Together behaviors and then enter the data into the online system. The online data tools "provide standardized and easily interpreted reports on child, class, and school progress." Additionally, the curriculum recommends that teachers use a comprehensive assessment tool at the beginning, midpoint, and end of the year. For programs that do not already use a comprehensive assessment tool, Curiosity Corner includes the Child Assessment Tool in the Teacher's Manual. A limitation is that the curriculum does not address the importance of selecting assessment instruments that are valid and reliable or individually, culturally, and linguistically appropriate for the children who are to be assessed.
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 Teacher's Manual provides strategies for how to communicate with parents and families. For example, it suggests communicating with parents regularly, conducting two home visits a year, and holding parent-teacher conferences. For each theme, the Theme Guide includes a "theme introduction letter" in English and Spanish. Most guidance for communicating with families tends to focus on how to share with families, but there is limited information on how to learn from families. The curriculum suggests that teachers "always strive to be nonjudgmental and sensitive to cultural differences." However, it lacks guidance on how to communicate in culturally or linguistically responsive ways.
Engaging Families: The curriculum provides specific guidance on how to engage parents and families in children's learning and development. It offers Home Link Activities that encourage nightly story time as well as Snuggle-Up and Read Parent Workshops and Celebrations. The Teacher's Manual also suggests using parent volunteers and assigning them tasks that draw on their abilities and interests. A limitation is that the curriculum lacks guidance on engaging families in culturally and linguistically responsive ways and does not address working with families who have disabilities or other special needs.
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 curriculum developer provides a two-day "program introduction" training. Facilitators or coaches (e.g., Success for All coaches) offer support for initial training and professional development throughout the year. The curriculum suggests that teachers meet regularly to share their experiences and problem-solve together. In addition, sites are encouraged to establish a Leading for Success program that includes Component Teams (composed of teachers) that meet monthly and discuss specific topics such as math, supporting emergent writers, and social and emotional skills. Various types of training such as site visits, on-site and telephonic coaching, and component teams facilitate individualized supports based on teacher and program needs.
Curriculum Materials to Support Implementation: Curiosity Corner includes a comprehensive, systematic set of user-friendly materials that are embedded throughout the curriculum. The Teacher's Manual provides information about the program philosophy, objectives, instructional components, and classroom organization and management. Eighteen Theme Guides describe, in detail, the learning experiences for each day over the course of the two-week theme. The Success for All Snapshot is embedded within the Teacher's Manual and serves as a reflection tool for teachers and a method for monitoring curriculum implementation. The Curiosity Corner Reporting and Planning Guide helps sites collect and report data on children's progress, set goals to improve child outcomes, plan and evaluate interventions, and prepare team and committee reports to share at quarterly data review meetings.
- Fidelity Tool: Curiosity Corner offers the Success for All Snapshot to monitor curriculum implementation and fidelity.
Learning Experiences and Interactions
The curriculum promotes rich learning experiences and interactions to support development across domains. Rich learning experiences support and extend children's knowledge, understanding of concepts, and skills across domains. As children actively explore their learning environment by manipulating objects and investigating concepts, teachers interact with them to extend their exploration, thinking, and communication. The curriculum offers children ample opportunities to engage in hands-on exploration and provides teachers with guidance on how to extend children's 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: Curiosity Corner offers daily opportunities for children to actively engage in open-ended, hands-on exploration. For example, Plan & Play and Learning Labs (e.g., Puzzle/Game, Art, and Science) provide opportunities to manipulate objects and investigate concepts. During Plan & Play, children select roles and scripts and use objects in creative ways. While some Learning Labs allow for open-ended exploration, others offer activities that are more prescriptive. The explorations are pre-determined (e.g., Children use mirrors to count the healthy teeth in their mouths; children use lemon juice to write messages or draw pictures and then look at them over a light bulb with a teacher). Moreover, though children participate in Learning Labs daily, the amount of time recommended for this activity is quite limited.
Interactions that Extend Children's Learning: The curriculum provides specific guidance that is embedded throughout the curriculum materials on how to extend children's learning. For example, Learning Labs Facilitation Guides include prompts such as, "Why do these things make us think of fall? What do you think might happen to this item in winter?" During Plan & Play, teachers are encouraged to join children's play to encourage conversation, prop use, and role-play. In addition, the STaR reading prompts are based on Bloom's taxonomy and designed to foster children's thinking and communication.
Individualization: The Teacher's Manual describes the Learning Labs Facilitation Guides as a way to individualize learning. For example, they include questions teachers might ask to provide support for children who need extra help or are DLLs and questions to challenge children who are further along in their development. However, there is no additional guidance on how to provide learning experiences that build on children's cultures and home languages or how to adapt learning experiences to respond to the needs of children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs.
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 Teacher's Manual provides some guidance on preparing the learning environment for each of the instructional components. Most guidance comes in the form of questions that ask teachers to consider specific environmental features related to a particular part of the daily routine. For example, for Greetings, Readings & Writings, the curriculum asks teachers, "Are there hooks or cubbies labeled with each child's name and/or picture?" Other guidance is more specific such as, "You will want to label each lab with a sign, so children know where to go." The curriculum states, "Cultural sensitivity permeates everything teachers do, from purchasing supplies and setting up their rooms." However, the curriculum lacks guidance on how to include children's cultures and home or tribal languages into the physical environment. Additionally, it does not address how to ensure the physical environment is accessible for children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs.
Learning Materials: The curriculum provides lists of learning materials that are developmentally appropriate and foster open-ended exploration and inquiry. For example, the Teacher's Manual includes lists of basic supplies for individual learning labs (e.g., blocks of various types, natural materials, beads). It also describes the materials needed for Gathering Circle (e.g., sharing sticks, calendar), Clues & Questions, STaR, and Plan & Play. Chapter 11 identifies the materials provided with each unit kit (e.g., trade books, resources). In addition, the beginning of each Theme Guide includes a list of materials needed for that unit. A limitation is that the curriculum does not offer guidance on how to include learning materials that authentically represent the cultures, ethnicities, and languages of the children and families, nor does it address how to ensure that learning materials are accessible for all children.
Schedule and Routines: The Teacher's Manual provides specific guidance for establishing a daily schedule and developmentally appropriate routines. It describes the instructional components: Greetings, Readings & Writings; Gathering Circle; Move It!; Clues & Questions; Rhyme Time; Getting Along Together; Plan & Play; STaR; Math Moments; and Question/Reflection. It also offers specific examples of three-, four-, and seven-hour schedules and describes morning routines for the children and teachers. The organization of the Theme Guides follows the suggested schedule and routines. Though the curriculum includes some guidance on how to adjust the schedule during the first few weeks of school (e.g., keep whole group activities brief, increase time for Plan & Play and outside time), it lacks further discussion on how to adjust schedules and routines based on children's needs and backgrounds.
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 describes the importance of culturally responsive interactions with children and families. The Teacher's Manual suggests that teachers respect and value the home culture, promote and encourage the active involvement and support of all families, become informed on children's home cultures, and make an intentional effort to learn about the diverse cultural backgrounds of children in their classrooms. Even so, the curriculum provides no guidance on how to engage in culturally responsive interactions with children and families.
Learning Experiences: Curiosity Corner encourages teachers to learn about the home cultures of the children in their groups. The Teacher's Manual explains that some cultures may not celebrate birthdays or holidays, but the curriculum lacks guidance on how to provide learning experiences that build on families' traditions, cultures, values, and beliefs. In the unit "Around the World," children learn about people from different places and cultures, but it does not guide the teacher to consider and plan according to the diverse cultures within the group.
Learning Environment: The Teacher's Manual states that cultural sensitivity impacts everything teachers do, including purchasing supplies. Some trade books included in the curriculum (e.g., A Chair for My Mother, Jonathan and His Mommy) reflect diverse children and families. In addition, the basic equipment list for the housekeeping area suggests providing "multi-ethnic" dolls and food. However, the curriculum does not provide guidance on how to select and use learning materials that authentically represent the cultures and ethnicities of children and families in the program.
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.
Scaffolding Strategies: The curriculum provides general guidance on how to scaffold the development and learning of children who are DLLs. For example, the Teacher's Manual gives a brief overview of strategies for supporting DLLs (e.g., speaking slowly and clearly, maintaining eye contact, using real objects, and Total Physical Response). In addition, the Learning Lab Facilitation Guides include questions teachers might ask to provide extra support for DLLs. Even so, the guidance is not specific, nor is it embedded throughout the curriculum materials.
Home and Tribal Languages: While the Teacher's Manual states that children should not be discouraged from speaking their home languages, the curriculum does not provide guidance on how to authentically incorporate children's home languages in the learning environment. Tribal languages are not addressed.
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 minimal guidance on how to embed intentional teaching practices and other interventions to support the development and learning of children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs. The "Supporting Children with Special Needs" section of the Teacher's Manual suggests setting up a buddy system, using peer tutoring, and reducing the amount of material that is covered each day. However, the curriculum includes no further guidance in this area.
Learning Environment: The curriculum provides limited guidance on how to ensure the physical environment and learning materials are accessible to children with disabilities and other special needs. The Teacher's Manual suggests that, depending on a child's disability, a teacher might employ assistive technology such as computer screens to enlarge text. The curriculum encourages teachers to use concrete materials with children with special needs. Even so, the curriculum lacks overall guidance on how to ensure the physical environment and learning materials are accessible to all children (e.g., universal design principles), and the curriculum could include specific examples of how to adapt learning materials embedded throughout the instructional components.
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: Curiosity Corner explains that Plan & Play scenarios are merely suggestions, and teachers may add their own or extend popular scenarios from previous weeks to best suit children's needs. However, the curriculum does not offer any guidance on how to plan learning experiences that build on the interests of individual children. Learning experiences are pre-planned and there is no guidance on how to modify them based on individual children's interests.
Individualization Based on Strengths and Needs: Curiosity Corner provides minimal guidance on how to make learning experiences responsive to individual children's strengths and needs. Each Learning Lab includes a facilitation guide that contains questions that can be asked to engage children at any developmental level. However, the curriculum lacks guidance on how to modify most learning experiences (e.g., Clues & Questions, STaR, Math Moments) to be responsive to individual children's strengths and needs.