Approaches to Learning: OWL promotes some research-based teaching practices to support the development of children's executive functioning skills and emotional and behavioral self-regulation. The curriculum provides guidance on classroom organization (e.g., predictable schedules and tips for transitions) and classroom management strategies (e.g., establishing classroom rules and using visual representation of a daily schedule). Children have daily opportunities to choose learning centers. Activities in the centers support children as they learn to regulate their behavior. However, the curriculum lacks ample opportunities for child-initiated play, activities based on children's interests, and ones that promote open-ended exploration, all of which research shows are important for supporting children's attention, persistence, curiosity, and creativity.
Social and Emotional Development: OWL promotes some research-based teaching practices in this domain. The Teacher Guides provide weekly guidance focused on promoting social and emotional development, an intentional approach to a sequence of learning experiences in this domain, and ways to support children as they learn to regulate their behavior. The Social Emotional Handbook offers 10 "Let's Talk About It" lessons that address specific social and emotional learning goals. Collectively, these structured activities support children as they learn to regulate their emotions, help teachers use language intentionally to support social and emotional development, and guide children to use social problem-solving. However, the curriculum provides limited guidance on establishing an emotionally supportive environment, building secure, trusting adult-child relationships, and using culturally and linguistically responsive practices.
Language and Communication: OWL consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's language and communication. For example, the daily routines and activities described in the Teacher Guides provide children with a variety of formal and informal opportunities to engage in rich oral language opportunities with adults and peers. "Make Every Moment Count" prompts include specific questions and prompts for teachers to facilitate conversations with children during daily routines (e.g., mealtime). The Teacher Guides and Story Time Cards describe ways to engage children in daily, interactive read-alouds that allow children to hear, use, and understand complex language. To support children's vocabulary development, each unit in the curriculum provides weekly lists of oral vocabulary words (e.g., concept words and academic vocabulary), intentional strategies, and visual supports (e.g., vocabulary cards) for teaching these words within the context of the unit.
Literacy: OWL consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's literacy development. It integrates varied, meaningful reading and writing learning experiences throughout each unit of the curriculum. The Teacher Guides and Story Time Cards offer research-based teaching practices to support literacy learning during daily read-alouds, such as asking various types of questions, connecting the story to children's lives, and retelling to aid comprehension. "Today's News" integrates additional research-based teaching practices, such as engaging in shared writing, examining concepts about print, and building alphabet knowledge.
Mathematics Development: The curriculum consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's development of mathematical concepts and skills. Intentionally planned, daily math learning activities are offered through Math Small Groups, the Math Learning Center, and other routine activities (e.g., transitions, circle time). The curriculum provides detailed guidance on how to introduce children to key mathematical concepts and offers many opportunities to practice mathematical skills and concepts. Additionally, the curriculum consistently introduces children to the language of mathematics. Concept word and academic vocabulary lists include relevant mathematical terms, and guidance is provided for teachers on modeling and facilitating math talk with children.
Scientific Reasoning: The curriculum provides some research-based teaching strategies to support children's development of scientific reasoning. OWL provides science experiences through the Science Lab Center, science circle, and demonstrations that facilitate the development of inquiry skills such as making observations, asking questions, and gathering information. Throughout these experiences, children are encouraged to document and share their findings. A limitation is that science activities, even within the science center, are only teacher-directed, leaving little room for teachers to build on children's previous experiences and interests or facilitate open-ended investigation.
Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development: OWL promotes a few research-based teaching practices to support children's Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development. The curriculum frequently engages children in a variety of movement experiences, such as "Sing and Move" activities during morning meeting. It also supports fine motor development through daily experiences in the art and writing centers. However, the curriculum lacks consistent guidance on using intentional teaching practices to support the development of physical and self-care skills and personal safety knowledge. In addition, the curriculum lacks guidance on creating a safe outdoor environment that encourages physical activity.