The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care helps children learn through play and exploration. The curriculum includes two units per month with lesson plans for mixed-age groups and is available online.
* This review of family child care curricula was completed in January 2020 and was based on information available at that time. We understand publishers are continuously making changes to their curricula and that changes made after the review date may not be reflected in this report. Please visit the publisher's website for up to date information on the curriculum.
Last Updated: February 9, 2020
Summary of Curriculum Review
- Promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's development and learning
- Moderately aligns with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) domains and sub-domains
- Provides guidance on learning goals for children's development and learning
- Provides limited guidance on learning environments and developmentally appropriate routines
- Lacks guidance on standardized or structured assessment instruments
- Promotes a range of strategies and resources to support parent and family engagement
- Provides support for extending children's learning experiences and interactions
- Lacks guidance on determining each child's developmental ability
- Includes prompts and open-ended questions to extend children's learning throughout activities
- Provides guidance on culturally responsive interactions with children and families
- Provides limited guidance on supporting linguistic responsiveness and children who are dual language learners (DLLs)
- Gives limited guidance to scaffold the development and learning of children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs
- Offers limited guidance on planning for learning experiences based on the interest of individual children
Cost of Curriculum
Monthly = $18.95, Quarterly = $53.95, Yearly = $192.95
Cost of Professional Development
Contact the publisher for the most updated information on costs of the curriculum and current professional development offerings.
Availability in Other Languages
The curriculum is only available in English. Some curriculum materials are available in Spanish.
Birth through Pre-K and after-schoolers
Curriculum Materials Reviewed by Raters
All materials from The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care were reviewed in 2020. These materials included:
- Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide
- Parent Involvement, Family Engagement & Gee Whiz
- The Learning Environment & The Gee Whiz Curriculum
- December Rockin' Rhyme and Creative Me Units
- January Awesome Opposites and Up in the Sky Units
* The Gee Whiz Curriculum encompasses 24 units. Two units are released for download each month and available for 45 days. This report reflects a review of 4 units.
Evidence Base for Child Outcomes
Evidence from research demonstrates the curriculum has been associated with children's positive learning outcomes. The curriculum has been implemented and directly studied in early childhood programs. 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 providers and educators.
At the time of this review, there are no available published research studies on The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care. The publisher highlights anecdotal evidence for child outcomes. There is no evidence that there have been studies conducted regarding its implementation. While training is not required by the publisher to use the curriculum, online training is available for providers. More rigorous research is needed in order to establish evidence for positive effects of The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care 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 learning and development.
Approaches to Learning: The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care promotes some research-based teaching practices, learning experiences, and developmentally appropriate content to support children's approaches to learning. Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide discusses responsive caregiving (e.g., effective teaching and teachable moments; provider self-knowledge and awareness). The curriculum embeds some scaffolding strategies into activities and materials (e.g., questions to spark thinking). Activities primarily promote language development, open-ended art, and sensory experience for all age groups. However, the curriculum has few activities that promote dramatic play. Dramatic play activities are teacher-initiated and limited in scope. The curriculum does not provide guidance on home organization, daily schedules, or routines.
Social and Emotional Development: The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care promotes provider emotional responsiveness. It offers few examples of effectively supporting positive child outcomes in the domains of social and emotional development. Activities to support children's social or emotional development are related to self-concept development. For example, "Working Together" and "Exploring Together, Giving and Receiving" are activities to support social skills in the Creative Me unit. The curriculum provides tips to support emotional regulation but there are no conflict resolution or behavior guidance strategies. Adult-directed activities minimize children's social interactions with peers. Embedded activities do not offer support for extended learning and adapting behavior expectations to the program.
Responsive Relationships and Interactions: The curriculum promotes responsive relationships and interactions with children. It recommends providers describe activities done by children and ask questions to engage them in conversations about their activities, such as re-counting children's actions to them or explaining how things feel. Within the activities, providers are encouraged to introduce new vocabulary words and support in helping older children learn new words. However, the User's Guide does not address infant/toddler care and provides little information on scaffolding language and supporting infants' expressive language.
Language and Communication: The curriculum consistently promotes teaching practices, learning, experiences, and developmentally appropriate research-based practices to support children's language and communication outcomes. Language and vocabulary development are central and consistent in the curriculum. Daily lessons include a vocabulary list, a list of open-ended questions, and guidance for incorporating the vocabularies and questions throughout activities. The "Questions to Spur Thinking" section promotes open-ended questions (e.g., What do you like best about your art? Who likes to see your paintings? What was your favorite part about this game?). Activities also remind providers to describe and use language with children, especially infants. For example, it suggests putting the infant on their tummy on a blanket, sitting above their head, and making the spider move up and down while reciting the nursery rhyme, "Little Miss Muffet." The curriculum instructs providers to describe the spider as well as the infant's actions during this experience.
Literacy: The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care promotes teaching practices, learning experiences, and developmentally appropriate content that are effective in supporting positive child outcomes related to literacy. The Letters and Literacy packet focuses on extended learning about letter recognition. Monthly units include literacy learning with a focus on letters and language. The curriculum references reading books to children but is not the primary focus of the contents in the monthly units. Each monthly unit includes a book list with cursory references to using the books in activities. The Rockin' Rhymes unit includes a book of nursery rhymes and each activity requires that a nursery rhyme be introduced and used as a reference. Instructions for activities lack references to supporting children who are DLLs even though several extension materials are noted to be available in English and Spanish.
Mathematics Development: The curriculum provides developmentally appropriate math experiences for children in cooking. It includes intentional teaching and support for providers to pull out math concepts from activates with multiple domains (e.g., Catch… Count… Eat; Guessing Weight; Watch It Fly; Sorting by Size). Math activities are sequenced based on children's developmental progressions. The curriculum does not provide activities that reflect learning math in everyday context. It lacks focused math opportunities in the environment and materials for use without adult direction.
Scientific Reasoning: The curriculum provides some examples of developmentally appropriate science-based learning experiences for children, such as A Bundle of Color and How Does it Work hands-on inquiry-based exploration activities. Activity guides offer guidance to encourage caregivers to support children in using language. For example, Pie Making 101 encourages more verbal children to describe how the dough feels, looks, and smells. In addition, it instructs providers to ask children plenty of questions as they create. The curriculum suggests that if any of the children choose to use the dough and materials to make pies, providers should challenge them to talk about the types of pies they are making, how long they need to cook, who is going to eat them, etc. However, the curriculum lacks opportunities to incorporate science concepts and scientific reasoning. It also lacks discovery, exploration, free play, and planning the environment.
Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development: The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care promotes some research-based teaching practices, learning experiences, and developmentally appropriate content effective in supporting positive child outcomes related to perception, motor, and physical development. It provides examples related to hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills development. For example, Rap… Rap… Rap… Rap encourages providers to have children listen to the pattern and then recreate them with their help. It instruct providers to start with a simple pattern and see if the children can copy it. Then, once they can copy the pattern, providers can stop and see if they can continue it. The curriculum provides activities for children to develop self-confidence, explore interesting topics and materials, and develop fine motor skills. Activities such as Twinkle Stars and Creative Crafting encourage caregivers to allow children to use materials in their own way and make choices. Children are also given opportunities to think creatively and use a variety of art materials while using fine motor skills. However, there is no support for developing these skills. The curriculum has few activities that encourage physical activities; activities that include some movement do not require it to be regularly occurring. The Learning Environment & the Gee Whiz Curriculum and Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide promote self-care, such as hand-washing, but no support for indoor arrangement to offer large motor play without adult direction.
Daily Routines as Opportunities for Learning: The curriculum provides few examples of promoting daily routines as opportunities for learning. Activities and suggestions in daily lessons for each unit are designed to help children transition smoothly. They explore different ways of transitioning, such as having children pretend to be pilots flying airplanes or giving them directions to follow that involve the opposites "on" and "off" as they move from activity to activity. The Learning Environment & the Gee Whiz Curriculum and Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide address supporting children's learning through routines but there is no mention of a daily schedule or guidance for creating one.
Play and Exploration: The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care promotes play and exploration through open-ended activities and questions in activities and materials. All curriculum activities include open-ended experiences for children (e.g., Potters Are We! and Fancy Fish Art). They encourage providers to "keep this experience truly open-ended by inviting children to follow their own ideas… not yours." Questions to "Spur Thinking" are included in activities (e.g., What do you think about working with clay? How do you think this was made? Why do you think it is important to only watch spiders and never touch them?). Daily activities in monthly units offer opportunities for providers to add their own ideas and experiences, repeating activities children enjoy. However, the curriculum lacks guidance on indoor and outdoor safety and active physical exploration.
Scope and Sequence
The curriculum includes an organized developmental scope and sequence to support children's development and learning. A scope and sequence outline the curriculum's focus 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 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 Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care recognizes all developmental domains as important for children. It identifies each domain in at least one activity per lesson in monthly units. Domains include language, literacy, math, science, logic and reasoning, approaches to learning, social studies, social and emotional learning, creative arts and music, and physical development and health. However, the curriculum provides scope only in the areas of language development, music and creative arts, and fine motor development.
Sequence: Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide, The Learning Environment & the Gee Whiz Curriculum, and the "Get Ready" page in monthly units encourage providers to modify activities to suit the developmental needs of children. The curriculum provides themes that promote domain-specific learning and sequences of learning, but they are dependent on provider knowledge and skills. The Customized/Individualized Lesson Planning Sheet and Individualization Web can be used to progressively build children's skills and concepts over time. The User's Guide offers information about working with children with disabilities, delays, or special needs and individualized lesson planning. It also offers some information about working with children who are linguistically and culturally diverse. However, monthly units contain few examples of working with children who are DLLs and does not reference working with children from tribal communities.
Alignment with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF)
The curriculum is aligned with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) and in consideration of the CCDF Final Rule regulations. Aligning a curriculum with the ELOF identifies the extent to which it addresses ELOF domains and sub-domains. Curricula that are fully aligned with the ELOF are comprehensive and cover all areas of children's learning and development. The curriculum is culturally relevant, researched-based, and supports high-quality care as stipulated in the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Final Rule.
A thorough review of all curriculum materials in relation to the ELOF domains and sub-domains indicate that The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care addresses all domains. Domains and subdomains are identified but not connected with specific skills or behaviors in the activities. The curriculum relies on provider knowledge of child development to connect teachings to adult-led activities. However, it provides minimal guidance to support providers in gaining this knowledge. While tools for designing learning goals are offered in the User's Guide and introductory materials, they do not connect to planned activities for monthly units.
Learning Goals for Children
The curriculum specifies learning goals for children. Learning goals are objectives for children's development and learning across multiple domains that are embedded in a curriculum. Developmentally appropriate learning goals are consistent with well-established developmental progressions. Learning goals are measurable and focused on skills, behaviors, and knowledge. Providers and educators 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 DLLs, children who are tribal language learners, and children with disabilities or other special needs.
Learning Goals: The curriculum provides learning goals that are developmentally appropriate. Language, creative arts, and fine motor experiences are embedded in the curriculum with some examples of literacy, math, science, gross motor, and social and emotional activities. For example, the Awesome Opposites and Rockin' Rhyme units embed learning goals that are developmentally appropriate and support learning (e.g. Exploring Together; Wow! That's Hot!; Who Jumped Over the Moon?; How Fast Can You?). Resources for developmental goals are mentioned, but provider knowledge is an important element in using the tools provided for goal-setting. The curriculum provides some guidance to support providers in gaining this knowledge in its introductory materials. The User's Guide discusses individualizing the curriculum and Customized/Individual Lesson Plan and Individualization Web in monthly units support individualized planning. However, the curriculum lacks measurable, sequential learning goals with specific scaffolding guidance to support children in reaching goals within daily activities.
Learning Materials: The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care provides activities with a developmentally appropriate set of materials included. A list of learning materials that foster open-ended exploration and inquiry are included throughout the curriculum (e.g., "Warm and Cold Water Play" lists strainers, ladles, funnels, bowls, plastic cooking spoons, etc. in the Awesome Opposites unit). The User's Guide provides an overview of how activities within the monthly units address developmental areas. For daily lessons and activities, a chart shows the developmental areas addressed by the activities for the day using picture codes. Teacher Guides in monthly units provide an overview of the “Program Symbols for Development” for providers to remember what picture code represents a developmental area. (e.g., question mark for Logic and reasoning, heart for Social and Emotional Development, and books for Literacy Knowledge). However, the curriculum lacks consistent support for children who are DLLs.
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. They offer 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 enough to support the changing ages, interests, and characteristics of a group of children over time.
Environment: The Learning Environment & the Gee Whiz Curriculum provides general guidance on materials to have for children to explore in both indoor and outdoor environments. The User's Guide provides some guidance on labeling things in the language spoken by children, using photographs with words to help children who are DLLs connect objects with English words, and making sure the book area reflects a wide variety of families. General guidance is also provided for creating an engaging and accessible environment for children on diverse and differing abilities. For example, in Examining the Environment, the curriculum instructs providers to examine the learning environment: Is your sink easily accessible to all children? Do you have different types and sizes of paintbrushes in your art center? However, there is no support for designing indoor and outdoor environments. Additionally, the curriculum lacks consistent support for children who are DLLs. It offers little guidance for providers to embed developmental milestones within activities to support children's progress towards learning goals.
Schedule and Routines: The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care addresses strategies for learning during routines. It does not connect with planned activities in monthly units or offer support for designing a daily schedule and routines.
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. It includes continued observation and documentation of children's development and learning. The curriculum describes a process for ongoing observation and documentation. It also provides supports for providers and educators to use this process.
Ongoing Observation and Documentation: Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide provides information about ongoing observation and anecdotal note-taking (e.g., Catch... Count... Eat ). The activities prompt caregivers to take notes about children's accomplishments. For example, "As you observe, take notes of which children are able to count out the correct number of fish and which are not." Note-taking tools and individualized planning guides, such as an Individualization Web and Monthly Provider Review Sheets, are offered for collecting information and planning for individuals and groups. However, the curriculum does not provide support for integrating these tools into daily activities.
Standardized and Structured Assessment Instruments: The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care does not provide standardized or structured assessment instruments by design. The User's Guide mentions "formal assessments" can be used in conjunction with the Gee Whiz Curriculum. It encourages recording anecdotal notes and reflecting on them to get a sense of each child's level of development in all areas on a regular basis. The User's Guide also references a developmental checklist on the Gee Whiz website for children birth through 4 years. It provides minimal guidance on anecdotal notes and reflections but provides an example of what a good reflection looks like.
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 providers and educators, 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 engage them in children's learning.
Communication with Parents and Families: Parent Involvement, Family Engagement & Gee Whiz provides information on communicating with parents. The guide highlights written communication tools included in the curriculum (e.g., Family Letters; Digital Family Notes; All About My Week Reports; and Just a Note). The curriculum offers suggestions and guidance for goal-setting with families and a goal planning worksheet. Materials are available in English, and some in Spanish, that give a range of information on parent involvement and strategies. Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide provides tips related to communicating with families in culturally and linguistically responsive ways. For example, it suggests that providers use Google Translate to learn some basic words in the family's home language. It also suggests that providers invite family members to come in to teach the children how to sing common songs in their home language.
Engaging Parents and Families: Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide offers "Examples of Questions You May Want to Ask Families." The curriculum provides a reference to an online resource for working with children with differing abilities. It lacks guidance for working with families who are English language learners and engaging them with the program.
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 skills, knowledge, and understanding of concepts. As children actively explore their learning environment through manipulating objects and investigating concepts, providers and educators interact with children to extend their exploration, thinking, and communication. Rich learning experiences are often integrated and support children's development across domains. They should be culturally and linguistically responsive and inclusive of children with disabilities and other special needs.
Active Exploration: The curriculum provides some examples of encouraging active exploration throughout the curriculum (e.g., Working Together; How Fast Can You?). It does not address free play or child-initiated play and learning. Activities provided primarily promote language development, open ended art, and sensory experience for all age groups. A list of developmentally appropriate learning materials that foster open ended exploration and inquiry are included throughout the curriculum (e.g., "Warm and Cold Water Play" lists strainers, ladles, funnels, bowls, plastic cooking spoons, etc. in the Awesome Opposites unit). However, the curriculum lacks guidance on indoor and outdoor safety or active physical exploration and heavily promotes adult-led activities.
Interactions that Extend Children’s Learning: The curriculum provides some examples of extending children's learning. Awesome Opposites and Rockin' Rhymes include extension activities for children to have opposite times and note rhyming words. Monthly units include an "Add and Enhance" page and a Letters and Literacy packet that support extending learning. Interactions that extend children's learning are described individually in adult-led activities of monthly units. However, sequenced learning is not addressed.
Individualization: Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide, The Learning Environment & the Gee Whiz Curriculum, and "Get Ready" page at the beginning of monthly units provide suggestions for adapting and modifying activities to suit the developmental needs of children. The User's Guide offers an overview of individualizing the curriculum using a five-step approach: Observe and record; reflect on observation; plan experiences; do; reflect again. While there are anecdotal observation and planning tools to support observation and reflection, the curriculum lacks guidance on determining each child's developmental ability in activities within monthly units (e.g., Individualization Web; Customized/Individual Lesson Plan). Additionally, the curriculum lacks cultural and linguistic supports and instruction for individualized interactions.
The curriculum supports cultural responsiveness. Cultural responsiveness is a strengths-based approach to teaching and caregiving. It is rooted in respect and appreciation for the role of culture in children's learning and development. A culturally responsive curriculum prompts providers and educators 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 plans and materials to build on these strengths, abilities, experiences, and interests in order to incorporate each child's culture into the program.
Interactions: The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care provides some guidance on culturally responsive interactions with children and families. The cultural responsiveness section in the User's Guide includes guidance on working with children and families who are DLLs. Monthly units offer activities for caregivers to use in children's home language during interaction with children, including children who are nonverbal or learning a language (e.g., Water Lily Fun, Big and Little Art). Parent Involvement, Family Engagement & Gee Whiz promotes communicating with parents and highlights written communication tools (e.g., Family Letters; Digital Family Notes; All About My Week Reports; and Just a Note). It provides suggestions and guidance for goal-setting with families and a goal planning worksheet. Materials are available in English and Spanish. The curriculum lacks references to culturally responsive practices for school-age children.
Learning Experiences: The curriculum provides brief references for working with children and families who are DLLs and from different cultural backgrounds. Creative Me unit encourages providers to take photographs and use mirrors. The curriculum references working with children who are DLL but lacks consistent and explicit examples of relevant activities.
Learning Materials: The curriculum provides general information and examples of having culturally responsive learning materials. Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide encourages cultural responsiveness through books that reflect a wide variety of families and cultures. It promotes linguistic responsiveness through books in languages spoken by children. Monthly units provide some materials in Spanish. Bilingual materials such as flashcards and books include suggestions for providers to ask parents for material suggestions.
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 them into the learning environment. Furthermore, linguistically responsive practices can facilitate English acquisition. Scaffolding strategies support children at any level of English knowledge to fully participate in the curriculum's learning experiences and learning environment.
Scaffolding Strategies: The curriculum provides no guidance to scaffold the development of children who are DLLs. The User's Guide offers generalized strategies that are not connected with monthly units. Water Lily Fun and Big and Little Art in Creative Me units include guidance for providers to lift language and use children's home language to support their participation. Parent Involvement, Family Engagement & Gee Whiz provides guidance on communication between the provider and parents in English and Spanish (e.g., Family Letters, Digital Family Notes, All About My Week Reports). While there are no other language translations available, Gee Whiz Education recommends using Google Translate for any other language supports needed. The curriculum lacks examples of language scaffolding strategies in the monthly units.
Home and Tribal Languages: Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide encourages providers to label things in the environment in the languages spoken by the children and use photographs with words to help children connect objects with English words. The curriculum suggests using Google Translate and asking parents for contributions to materials that reflect a wide variety of families and cultures. For example, including clothing and play food in the dramatic play area that represents different cultures or labeling where toys belong on a shelf in children's home or tribal language and in English. The curriculum includes activities for providers to use children's home language but offers minimal strategies in weekly activities and methods to support children's home or tribal language.
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 them to access and participate in learning and social experiences and activities. Specialized supports may occur in a variety of ways, such as specific teaching practices and ways of interacting with children or adaptations to daily schedules and the learning environment. Individualizing for children with disabilities or other special needs enables all children to access, participate, and thrive in early learning settings.
Teaching Practices and Interventions: Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide, The Learning Environment & the Gee Whiz Curriculum, and "Get Ready" page in monthly units promote making adaptations as needed. They encourage providers to modify activities to suit the developmental needs of the children. The User's Guide provides an overview of individualizing the curriculum using a five-step approach: Observe and record; reflect on observation; plan experiences; do; reflect again. While there are anecdotal observations and planning tools (e.g., Individualization Web; Customized/Individual Lesson Plan), the curriculum offers no guidance within monthly units on determining children's development ability and supporting children as individuals. The User's Guide includes some strategies for addressing delays and supporting inclusion. Activities within the monthly units lack guidance on determining children's developmental ability and supporting children as individuals.
Learning Environment: The curriculum provides general instructions and guidance for all children regardless of background, ability, or DLL status. There are few examples of individualizing based on specific descriptions in the materials. The curriculum includes strategies to examine the environment and adjust materials for children with special needs. For example, in Examining the Environment, an important step is examining the learning environment: Is your sink easily accessible to all children? Do you have different types and sizes of paintbrushes in your art center? Monthly units reference age-specific developmental stages but does not connect them with activities. The curriculum lacks specific guidance on research-based teaching practices and other interventions in daily routines and learning experiences to support the development and learning of children with disabilities, suspected delays, or special needs.
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. Providers and educators reflect on their observations of each child, 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 them. Because children may vary in their developmental progressions, it is also important for providers and educators to plan learning experiences that are responsive to individual strengths and needs.
Individualization Based on Interests: The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care offers no guidance on how to plan for learning experiences that build on the interests of individual children. Curriculum materials support collecting information through observation and providers' use of anecdotal notes. Activities within monthly units are adult-led and do not allow for free play.
Individualization Based on Strengths and Needs: The curriculum provides general guidance and minimal examples of individualizing based on children's strengths and needs. Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide provides an overview of individualizing the curriculum using a five-step approach: Observe and record; reflect on observation; plan experiences; do; reflect again. The guidance provided is applicable to all children regardless of background, DLL status, and ability. However, the curriculum provides minimal guidance on planning learning experiences that build on the interest of individual children.
Mixed Age Groups: The curriculum offers some guidance for supporting learning within mixed age groups. The Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide encourages providers to modify and adjust daily activities and experiences to meet individual needs and interests of children in the home. It provides some guidance on individualizing the curriculum. Activities within monthly units specify an age group for each activity (e.g., "Paper Towel Rolls & Paint" activity for toddlers–age 4 and "Paint Without the Mess" activity for infants in the Creative Me unit). The User's Guide provides an overview of a five-step approach to individualizing activities presented to children. However, the curriculum provides minimal guidance within monthly units and activities for providers to support learning within mixed age groups.
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. They also provide consistent content and delivery methods across training sessions. Materials to support implementation include resources that come with a curriculum to help education staff understand how to use it. The materials might also include resources to help education managers, child development specialists, and coaches support education staff to implement the curriculum effectively. Professional development and materials to support implementation and continuous improvement should be designed to benefit providers and educators with a range of backgrounds and learning styles.
Professional Development: The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care offers initial training for providers. An Overview of Gee Whiz Education and Introduction to Gee Whiz Education webinars provides an overview of the curriculum and guidance for implementing the curriculum. The publisher offers free on-going training and professional development opportunities through live and recorded webinars for providers. Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019-2020 User's Guide also provides information on the initial training and online webinars (e.g., An Overview of Gee Whiz Education, ongoing cohorts, and individual topic training).
Curriculum Materials to Support Implementation: The curriculum references materials for supporting implementation (e.g., Gee Whiz Education Curriculum 2019–2020 User's Guide). Ongoing webinar cohorts and trainings provide an overview on implementing the curriculum (e.g., The Why Behind Experiences). Providers are given support for implementing the curriculum and the flexibility to implement all activities and features of the curriculum materials.
- Fidelity Tool: The Gee Whiz Curriculum for Family Child Care includes a Utilization Checklist, a component designed for quality specialists and coaches to measure the fidelity with which a provider is using the curriculum.