Approaches to Learning: Core Knowledge® promotes some research-based teaching practices to support children's approaches to learning, such as promoting sensitive, responsive caregiving. The curriculum also includes guidance on classroom organization (e.g., sample schedules, descriptions of learning centers and materials) and classroom management strategies (e.g., brainstorming and creating rules with children, providing visual cues), which promote executive functioning skills. The daily schedule includes learning centers where children can participate in activities based on their interests and engage in child-initiated play that promotes open-ended exploration. However, the curriculum provides fewer strategies and activities that support children in developing emotional and behavioral regulation.
Social and Emotional Development: Core Knowledge® promotes a few research-based teaching practices in this domain. The curriculum provides guidance on how to establish an emotionally supportive environment and suggestions on how to build secure, trusting adult-child relationships. For example, scaffolding strategies embedded in the "Teacher Responses" and "Teacher Feedback" sections of the Core Knowledge Preschool Sequence and Teacher Handbook (Handbook) emphasize how to engage in sensitive and responsive interactions. The "Autonomy, Social Skills and Work Habits" chapter guides teachers to identify and label emotions, and there is reference to the Stop and Think Social Skills Program. However, there is limited evidence that the curriculum supports teachers to use language intentionally to foster children's social and emotional development, or that it encourages teachers to coach and guide children to use problem-solving skills to resolve conflicts. References to culturally and linguistically responsive practices are minimal.
Language and Communication: Core Knowledge® consistently promotes research-based teaching practices in this domain, such as providing guidance on how to create rich oral language experiences and opportunities to hear, use, and understand complex language. For example, the Handbook section "Language of Instruction" includes a sampling of precise vocabulary for each chapter. The curriculum also provides learning experiences using the sounds of language to develop phonological awareness through nursery rhymes, poems, fingerplays, and songs.
Literacy: Core Knowledge® consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's literacy development. For example, it provides varied opportunities for children to discuss, use, and make print materials (e.g., using print during daily routines, creating charts with children). Guidance for storybook reading and storytelling, such as the STORY and INFO techniques, engages children as active participants. The curriculum suggests learning experiences that include varied, meaningful opportunities to develop emergent writing skills; teachers are encouraged to model and support children's writing activities across all play experiences (e.g., writing lists, signs, recipes). Furthermore, the curriculum provides strategies for interactive read-alouds that include opportunities for children to develop concepts about print, alphabet knowledge, and comprehension skills, which research shows are critical early literacy skills. Even so, the curriculum lacks guidance on how to plan literacy experiences based on rich and engaging content.
Mathematics Development: The curriculum promotes some research-based teaching practices to support children's mathematics development. "Teaching Ideas" and "Cross-Curricular Connections" provide suggestions for learning experiences and strategies to promote conceptual understanding, develop procedural skills, and introduce children to the language of mathematics. For example, one "Teaching Idea" suggests using hula hoops to create a Venn diagram to visually depict sorting and classifying objects according to two attributes. While the curriculum presents a developmental sequence of math skills, it is unclear how "Teaching Ideas" and "Cross-Curricular Connections" are sequenced based on children's development. In addition, most of the suggested learning experiences are skill-focused. Thus, children have limited opportunities to engage in problem-solving, inquiry, and creative invention.
Scientific Reasoning: Core Knowledge® promotes some research-based teaching practices in this domain, such as guiding teachers to support the development of important inquiry skills. For example, the Handbook provides specific guidance for engaging children in the scientific reasoning cycle (reflect and ask, plan and predict, act and observe, and report and reflect). "Creating an Engaging Science Center" describes how teachers set up, introduce, and interact with children in the science center. Guidance explains how teachers can use specific science language (e.g., hypothesize, describe). The "Teaching Ideas" and "Cross-Curricular Connections" provide suggestions for science learning experiences. However, the curriculum does not provide specific guidance on how to embed science in daily activities and play. It also lacks opportunities for children to explore scientific concepts in depth through multiple, varied, conceptually related learning experiences.
Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development: The curriculum promotes a few research-based teaching practices to support children's perceptual, motor, and physical development. It provides some guidance on intentional teaching practices to support the development of physical skills and perceptual motor development. For example, the Handbook includes "Teaching Ideas" that incorporate specific instructions and targeted learning goals (e.g., have children throw rolled socks into shoe boxes). However, the curriculum lacks consistent guidance on how to use intentional teaching practices to support the development of self-care skills and personal safety knowledge. In addition, the curriculum lacks guidance on creating a safe outdoor environment that encourages physical activities.