Pre K for ME is adapted from the Boston Public Schools' Focus on K1 curriculum and is aligned with Maine's Early Learning and Development Standards. Pre K for ME includes learning experiences intentionally designed to support children in the domains of math, language, literacy, and science.
Last Updated: March 4, 2020
Summary of Curriculum Review
- Provides activities in all developmental domains, but research-based teaching practices are most evident in Language and Communication, Literacy, Mathematics, and Scientific Reasoning
- Moderately aligned with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) but lacks comprehensive guidance in the following sub-domains: Emotional and Behavioral Self-Regulation; Relationships with Adults; Communicating and Speaking; and Health, Safety, and Nutrition
- Offers opportunities for child-initiated play and activities that promote open-ended exploration
- Includes general guidance for children with disabilities or other special needs
- Promotes individualization based on children's strengths and needs
- Provides developmentally appropriate learning goals, but goals are inconsistently addressed within the units
- Provides minimal guidance and few strategies for communicating with families
- Lacks a sequence of learning experiences based on children's developmental progressions for some domains
- Provides opportunities for ongoing observation but lacks comprehensive guidance on ongoing child assessment
- Lacks standardized initial training and comprehensive ongoing professional development
- Provides limited guidance on how to fully integrate children's and families' cultures
- Lacks guidance on how to individualize learning for children who are dual language learners (DLLs)
Cost of Curriculum
Pre K for ME: Free
Cost of Professional Development
The publisher does not offer professional development for Pre K for ME at this time.
Contact the publisher for the most updated information on costs of the curriculum and current professional development offerings.
Availability in Other Languages
Pre K for ME is only available in English.
Center-based preschool programs for children aged 4 years old.
Curriculum Materials Reviewed by Raters
All materials from Pre K for ME were reviewed in 2020. There materials included:
• Pre K for ME Curriculum Guiding Documents
• Unit 1: Family
• Unit 2: Friend
• Unit 3: Wind and Water
• Unit 4: World of Color
• Unit 5: Shadows and Reflections
• Unit 6: Things That Grow
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 Pre K for ME. It is an adaptation of the Boston Public Schools' preschool curriculum (Focus on K1). Published research studies present evidence for the positive impact of Focus on K1 on children's school readiness outcomes. These studies are not included in this review, however, because Pre K for ME is a modified version of the Focus on K1 curriculum. Research investigating the Pre K for ME curriculum is needed to establish evidence of children's learning outcomes.
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: The curriculum promotes research-based practices to support children's approaches to learning. Pre K for ME provides many opportunities for pretend play and for child-initiated activities that promote open-ended exploration, curiosity, and creativity. It also emphasizes children's interests during play and activities (e.g., gathering information on children's interests and using these as "entry points") and supporting children in developing executive functioning skills (e.g., inviting children to plan story-acting experiences). In addition, the curriculum offers guidance on classroom organization through sample schedules and embedded suggestions to support transition (e.g., dismissing children to classroom learning centers by the color of their shirt). Nevertheless, the curriculum provides limited guidance on emotional regulation and scaffolding of children's problem-solving skills.
Social and Emotional Development: The curriculum promotes a few research-based practices to support children's development of social and emotional knowledge and skills. Pre K for ME promotes formal and informal opportunities for children to practice social skills and build friendships (e.g., inviting a child to play, giving a friend a compliment). However, the units offer few learning experiences to help children explore emotions and practice problem-solving skills to resolve conflicts. Pre K for ME also provides limited guidance on promoting sensitive and responsive caregiving and how to intentionally promote social and emotional learning. Additionally, the curriculum does not provide guidance on culturally and linguistically responsive practices.
Language and Communication: The curriculum consistently promotes research-based practices to support language and communication. Pre K for ME offers learning experiences that support vocabulary development through interactive read-alouds and language experiences that build on children's existing knowledge, skills, and interests. The Comments/Questions/Expanded Conversation text boxes provide opportunities for extended discourse (e.g., I see that you are examining all of the different types of beans. What shapes do you see? What colors do you see?). In addition, the section Songs, Word Play, Letters (SWPL) builds phonological awareness through poems and activities (e.g., syllable clapping experiences with words and songs).
Literacy: The curriculum consistently promotes research-based practices in literacy. Pre K for ME provides varied and meaningful opportunities to develop emergent writing skills and foster children's enjoyment of books. Children's emergent writing skills are supported across a variety of learning experiences (e.g., encouraging children to create nametags, supporting children in writing letters, words, and numbers from recipes). Story read-alouds support the development of literacy skills through questions to prompt discussions of the book. Alphabet knowledge learning experiences are embedded in meaningful contexts, such as noticing letters in signs around their neighborhood and playing games with letters in their name. The curriculum also provides numerous meaningful opportunities to engage with print, such as reviewing ingredients and procedures in recipes and creating signs, labels, pretend money, and price stickers for a store in the dramatic play area.
Mathematics Development: The curriculum consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's mathematics development. Pre K for ME includes clear sequenced learning experiences based on children's developmental progressions that promote both conceptual understanding and procedural skills. For example, the curriculum uses manipulatives and teacher-directed questions to discuss and illustrate mathematical concepts (e.g., What color flower do you have the most of? What do you have the fewest of?). The curriculum includes guidance that encourages teachers to use math talk and identifies math vocabulary to use with children. Math problem-solving experiences are embedded in everyday routines and play, such as in creating price labels for groceries in the dramatic play area. In addition, the curriculum includes meaningful math experiences such as asking children, "Who lives with you? How many people live with you? How many altogether?"
Scientific Reasoning: The curriculum consistently promotes research-based practices that support experiential learning and scientific inquiry. The science learning experiences and center activities provide opportunities to ask questions, observe, explore, and experiment. Guiding questions provide prompts to facilitate the development of important inquiry skills (e.g., What do you notice about the different textures of the materials you are using? What kind of impression will this material make? What's your prediction?). Children are encouraged to communicate their observations and document their work in journals. Furthermore, the units of study provide multiple, varied, and conceptually related learning experiences. For example, in Unit 5, children investigate reflections using various sources (e.g., flashlights, mirrors, puddles outside).
Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development: The curriculum promotes some research-based practices to support children's perceptual, motor, and physical development. Pre K for ME provides guidance on how to create an environment that encourages physical activity and engages children in frequent body movement (e.g., games, songs, story acting). The curriculum provides some guidance on how to support perceptual motor development (body and spatial awareness) and activities to support fine motor development. The curriculum also includes a broad range of personal safety topics, such as road and playground safety. Nevertheless, the curriculum offers limited guidance that addresses children's nutrition and healthy habits (e.g., regular hand-washing). In addition, only a few learning experiences explicitly address how to support children's self-care skills.
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: Pre K for ME explicitly addresses literacy, math, and science as essential areas for children's development and learning. The units provide lesson plans, learning goals, and teaching practices to support children's development in these domains. However, some components of Approaches to Learning, Social and Emotional Development, and Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development are more implicitly addressed and embedded within learning experiences.
Sequence: In some developmental domains, Pre K for ME provides a sequence of learning experiences that progressively build children's knowledge and skills as they move through the developmental progressions. For example, in the domains of Literacy, Mathematics, and Science, the activities within the units progressively build on children's skills and concepts over time. However, some aspects of Approaches to Learning, Social and Emotional Development, Language and Communication, and Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development lack a variety of learning experiences that gradually support children as they move through the developmental progressions. 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 of the curriculum materials in relation to the ELOF domains and sub-domains indicates that Pre K for ME is moderately aligned with the ELOF. The learning experiences within the units support children across the majority of the ELOF sub-domains. The curriculum partially addresses the following two ELOF sub-domains: Emotional and Behavioral Self-Regulation 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: Pre K for ME specifies learning goals that are measurable, developmentally appropriate, and organized by the domains of learning and development within the Pre K for ME Curriculum Guiding Documents (Guiding Documents). The curriculum uses the Maine standards as its learning goals. However, these standards are not consistently addressed within the units. For example, a number of standards do not have an associated learning experience. Likewise, some learning experiences and lesson plans do not mention the related standards. In addition, the curriculum lacks guidance on how to use the 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 Guiding Documents describe how teachers can use documentation tools to record dialogue, observations of children's work, learning strategies, and social interactions. The curriculum describes the importance of observation for children who may be struggling or children who have made a discovery that should be acknowledged. In addition, the documentation prompts provide specific and embedded guidance on how to collect and use children's work samples (e.g., Take photos of the color combinations that children create. Show photos during lunch or center time and discuss with children.).
Standardized and Structured Assessment Instruments: The curriculum does not address the use of standardized or structured assessments to assess children's developmental progress.
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 provides minimal guidance on how to communicate with families. Pre K for ME includes one letter to parents inviting them to collect recycled objects to repurpose. The curriculum does not offer strategies for sharing information and learning from parents and families. It also doesn't provide guidance on how to communicate with families in culturally and linguistically responsive ways.
Engaging Families: The curriculum provides some guidance on how to engage parents and families in children's learning and development. Some lessons provide prompts that invite family or community members to come in and speak, visit the classroom, or send in photos of the children. Pre K for ME also includes a few opportunities for teachers to send home games and puzzles that are intended to extend the learning at home (e.g., National Association for the Education of Young Children materials). Even so, opportunities to engage families are not integrated throughout the curriculum. In addition, the curriculum does not include any guidance on how to engage parents from diverse cultures, parents who speak languages other than English, or parents of children with disabilities and 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 does not offer standardized initial training or ongoing professional development opportunities.
Curriculum Materials to Support Implementation: Pre K for ME provides some materials to support implementation. The Guiding Documents include weekly material lists, learning center resources, and opportunities for technology use to support learning. The curriculum includes guidelines on how to introduce and set up learning centers. It also offers suggestions for transitions and extensive information on the purpose of multiple reads of the books introduced in the curriculum. Each learning experience provides guidance on implementation, lists of materials, related vocabulary, and scripted lessons. Even so, the guidance for the learning centers and learning experiences is not systematic across the units.
- Fidelity Tool: Pre K for ME does not include a fidelity tool.
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: Pre K for ME provides ample opportunities for children to engage in open-ended, hands-on exploration. The Guiding Documents describe the importance of hands-on exploration for young children's development in all domains of learning. Within the units, the curriculum includes several prompts for teachers to invite children to play, engage freely, and explore materials in learning centers and experiences. For example, in one learning experience, the curriculum encourages children to experiment with bubbles and bubble wands of various sizes and shapes and to take notice of how different bubbles are made with various tools. Many experiences are structured but also allow for exploration with natural materials and phenomena (e.g., plants, reflections, shadows).
Interactions That Extend Children's Learning: The curriculum provides specific guidance that is embedded throughout the materials on how to extend children's learning. The Guiding Documents discuss the importance of scaffolding children in meaningful ways and providing materials to extend, differentiate, or enhance the learning experience. The Comments/Questions/Expanded Conversation text boxes provide many opportunities for teachers to extend learning and expand on children's comments (e.g., open-ended questions, parallel talk).
Individualization: The Guiding Documents provide general guidance on how to individualize learning experiences for children with varying needs (i.e., "Planning for Variability"). The curriculum uses the Universal Design for Learning framework to engage children in meaningful ways and through multiple paths of access and representation. Some suggestions include using nonverbal signals to answer questions and providing movement breaks. Even so, the curriculum does not include specific or embedded strategies to support children who are DLLs. The curriculum also lacks specific guidance on how to plan culturally responsive learning experiences.
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 Guiding Documents provide some guidance on how to establish well-organized, engaging indoor and outdoor environments that promote active exploration and support children's development across domains. For example, the guide includes information on how to set up learning centers and an outdoor environment that can be used for children to jump, run, and climb safely. Universal design principles are included to ensure the environment is accessible for children with disabilities and other special needs. However, the curriculum does not include guidance on how to include children's home language or culture in the physical environment.
Learning Materials: The curriculum provides lists of learning materials that are developmentally appropriate and foster open-ended exploration and inquiry. For example, the Guiding Documents include lists of basic supplies for learning centers (e.g., sand, water, and leaves for a discovery/sensory table and clay, acorns, and dried leaves for an art studio). The Guiding Documents also offer some specific information to ensure learning materials meet the unique needs of children with disabilities or special needs (e.g., visual timers, squishy balls or other concentration tools, headphones or earmuffs). Even so, limited guidance is provided on how to include children's home languages and cultures in the physical environment.
Schedule and Routines: The curriculum provides general guidance on how to establish a daily schedule and developmentally appropriate routines. The Guiding Documents include suggested daily schedules for full-day, mid-day, and half-day programs. Pre K for ME discusses the importance of predictable processes that provide structure and how the components of the daily schedule should be flexible based on individual contexts and programs. However, no specific guidance is provided on how to adjust schedules and routines based on individual children's needs.
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 does not address culturally responsive interactions with children or families.
Learning Experiences: Pre K for ME provides some learning experiences that build on children's and families' traditions, cultures, values, and beliefs. For example, the curriculum invites family members to teach children games from their childhood and asks families how they celebrate special occasions. However, the curriculum does not describe the importance of providing learning experiences that build on children's cultures. The suggestions provided are limited and not thoroughly embedded throughout the curriculum materials.
Learning Environment: The curriculum provides some learning materials that reflect diverse children and families (e.g., Peter's Chair, 10 Tiny Babies). In addition, some "provocations" ask families to bring in materials to enhance children's learning (e.g., family recipes to add to the library and listening center). However, the curriculum does not provide guidance on how to select and use learning materials that 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 does not provide research-based scaffolding strategies to support the development and learning of children who are DLLs.
Home and/or Tribal Languages: Pre K for ME provides minimal guidance on how to authentically incorporate children's home languages into the learning environment. The Guiding Documents recommend labeling materials in the learning environment in the children's home language. Unit 1 provides numbers in English, Spanish, French, and German and then encourages teachers and children to include other languages they may know. Even so, these examples were the few found within the curriculum. It also generally lacks embedded guidance on how to authentically incorporate children's home languages into learning experiences.
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 Guiding Documents provide general guidance for children with disabilities or other special needs (e.g., using physical gestures, providing sentence frames). In the units, the curriculum offers some teaching strategies, such as modeling and using small groups to support children's learning. The curriculum lacks systematic guidance on how to embed intentional teaching practices and other interventions in the daily routines and activities to support the development and learning of children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs.
Learning Environment: Pre K for ME provides some general guidance on how to ensure the physical environment and learning materials are accessible to children with disabilities, suspected delays, and other special needs. For example, the Guiding Documents offer some strategies to ensure the learning materials are accessible (e.g., visual images for directions, limiting the number of materials). In addition, some specific examples are embedded, such as providing plastic gloves for children with sensory challenges. However, the guidance is not embedded throughout curriculum materials and often does not address children with a variety of 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. 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: Pre K for ME consistently provides guidance on how teachers can be responsive to children's interests within learning activities. During learning center time, children can choose centers freely and move between activities (e.g., discovery/sensory table, art studio, writing, and drawing). In the units, specific prompts provide opportunities for children to explore based on their own interests. For example, the curriculum provides daily opportunities to create and act out stories based on child interests and topics within the curriculum.
Individualization Based on Strengths and Needs: The curriculum provides a variety of strategies to make learning experiences responsive to individual children's strengths and needs. For example, the Adaptations for Additional Challenge prompts provide modifications such as sorting and identifying geometric shapes by more than one attribute. In addition, some prompts include guidance for children who may need more support (e.g., providing sentence frames).