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.