Approaches to Learning: Big Day for PreK™ promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's approaches to learning. For example, the curriculum offers guidance on classroom organization, such as posting a schedule or creating an interactive display, to help children learn daily routines. It also provides supports for teachers to scaffold children's emotional, behavioral, and cognitive self-regulation skills by helping children understand their own emotions and others' emotions and actively fostering children's attention skills. However, the curriculum provides minimal opportunities for child-initiated play, activities based on children's interests, and learning centers that promote open-ended exploration, which research shows are important for supporting children's attention, persistence, curiosity, and creativity.
Social and Emotional Development: Big Day for PreK™ consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's social and emotional development. For example, the Professional Handbook provides specific ways to establish an emotionally supportive environment and build secure and trusting relationships with children. Throughout the group activities and learning centers described in the Teaching Guides, there are many informal and formal opportunities for children to practice social skills (e.g., teachers are encouraged to model and engage children in social conversations during mealtimes and to help children communicate and problem-solve with peers during dramatic play), as well as many examples of how teachers use language to support children's social and emotional learning (e.g., inviting children to share how they feel when trying something new).
Language and Communication: Big Day for PreK™ consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's language and communication, such as providing ongoing opportunities for rich oral language experiences. The daily routines and activities include many formal and informal opportunities for children to engage in language and communication with adults and peers. Additionally, the curriculum includes daily opportunities for interactive read-alouds. Guidance on how to engage in dialogic reading, a research-based practice for promoting children's oral language development, is provided for all read-aloud experiences in the curriculum. To support children's vocabulary development, the curriculum offers guidance on how to use theme words or science and social studies vocabulary throughout the day.
Literacy: Big Day for PreK™ consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support literacy, such as providing varied opportunities for children to discuss, use, and make print materials (e.g., sign-in sheet for children, Writing Center includes materials for children to make print, such as dry-erase board or book binding materials). Furthermore, daily interactive read-alouds provide opportunities for children to develop concepts about print, comprehend text, and enjoy books, which research shows are critical early literacy skills. The curriculum provides guidance on how to use the "Morning Message" to support children's alphabet knowledge (e.g., circling letters they have learned).
Mathematics Development: The curriculum consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's mathematics development. The Teaching Guides offer an intentionally planned sequence of math lessons, with each unit providing a review of concepts and skills from previous units and focusing on one or two new mathematical concepts and skills. The sequence of activities for each mathematical concept or skill (e.g., counting, measurement) follows research-based developmental progressions. Both small- and large-group math learning experiences provide children with hands-on opportunities to build their conceptual understanding. The curriculum provides supports to engage children in understanding and using math vocabulary (e.g., Math Mats).
Scientific Reasoning: Big Day for PreK™ includes weekly science activities and a Science Learning Center, but these do not consistently promote research-based teaching practices. Science activities support the development of inquiry skills (e.g., making predictions, comparing and categorizing) and the practice of children describing and documenting their work (e.g., prompts for teachers to elicit children's observations and ideas). However, many of the activities are focused on content that is not developmentally appropriate (e.g., magnetism) and do not build on children's natural abilities, prior experiences, or interests (e.g., exploring the Arctic). Furthermore, the activities and learning centers are pre-planned and teacher directed, which does not allow for children's experiential learning, inquiry, and open-ended investigation.
Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development: Big Day for PreK™ provides some research-based teaching practices to support children's perceptual, motor, and physical development, such as creating a safe environment that encourages active physical exploration and engaging children in regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The curriculum lacks guidance on how teachers can intentionally scaffold the development of children's physical skills (e.g., suggestions for modeling or specific feedback). In addition, the curriculum provides physical activities, but it lacks repeated opportunities for children to practice individual physical skills.