Approaches to Learning: Curiosity Corner promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's self-regulation and executive functioning skills. The curriculum provides guidance on classroom organization, including a suggested daily schedule and ideas for transitions between activities. The Teacher's Manual offers classroom management strategies such as team cooperation goals and signs/signals (Zero Noise Signals). Children develop executive functioning skills through daily choices during Greetings, Readings & Writings, and Plan & Play, as well as Brain Games specifically designed to scaffold executive functioning skills (e.g., I Spy, What's the Magic Word). Getting Along Together activities (e.g., Stay Cool Steps) help children learn to regulate their emotions and develop problem-solving skills. However, the curriculum includes limited opportunities to engage children in child-initiated play and activities based on their interests. While children select their own learning areas (Learning Labs) during Greetings, Readings & Writings, this part of the day is a very short period (10 minutes in a part-day schedule), and the Plan & Play (dramatic play) scenarios are offered by the teacher.
Social and Emotional Development: The curriculum consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's social and emotional development. Getting Along Together activities are intentionally sequenced learning experiences that promote social and emotional development. For example, learning experiences such as "Using I Messages" and "Naming Others' Feelings" provide formal opportunities for children to practice social interactions. Other learning experiences (e.g., Learning Labs and Plan & Play) offer informal opportunities for such practice. Each unit includes a social and emotional development vocabulary list, and Getting Along Together activities utilize these words. The curriculum also includes guidance to support children as they learn to regulate their emotions and use problem-solving skills to resolve conflicts. Even so, the curriculum provides limited guidance on how to build secure, trusting relationships and culturally and linguistically responsive practices.
Language and Communication: Curiosity Corner consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children in developing language and communication skills. The instructional components (e.g., Greetings, Readings & Writings, Plan & Play, Clues & Questions) described in the Teacher's Manual and Theme Guides provide many formal and informal ways for children to engage in rich oral language exchanges with adults and peers. Story Telling and Retelling (STaR) plans describe ways to engage children in interactive read-alouds that allow them to hear, use, and understand complex language. To support children's vocabulary development, the curriculum offers multiple vocabulary lists for each unit (e.g., Wonderful Words, theme-related, STaR, Getting Along Together) and explicit instruction for vocabulary development within the context of each unit. In addition, Rhyme Time activities (e.g., "Baa, Baa Black Sheep," "My Mirror") promote phonological awareness in playful ways.
Literacy: The curriculum consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's literacy development. It offers varied and meaningful opportunities to discuss, use, and make printed materials. For example, daily activities include signing-in, "reading" the Daily Message, and engaging in STaR activities. STaR activities support literacy learning during daily read-alouds, such as previewing the story, asking various types of questions, and retelling to aid comprehension. Activities within the Instructional Components, such as Learning with Curiosity and the Daily Message, integrate additional research-based practices (e.g., using modeled writing, examining concepts of print, building alphabet knowledge).
Mathematics Development: Curiosity Corner promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's development of mathematical concepts and skills. Math Moments and Math Lab provide intentionally planned, daily math learning experiences that include sequences based on children's developmental progressions. They also offer opportunities to practice mathematical skills and concepts and to use math vocabulary. For example, Math Moments begin with rote counting practice (Count with Curiosity), followed by direct instruction of a concept or skill (Active Instruction), and then children work with a partner to explore the concept or to play a related game (Partner Practice). Math Moments also ask children to apply previously learned concepts and skills to help Curiosity Cat (the program's mascot) solve a problem. The curriculum includes math words within unit vocabulary lists, as well as guidance on how to model and facilitate math talk with children. However, Math Moments and Math Lab are highly structured, offering few opportunities for children to engage in inquiry and creative invention.
Scientific Reasoning: The curriculum promotes research-based teaching strategies to support children's development of scientific reasoning. Science Lab and small group activities offer hands-on science learning experiences that support the development of children's science skills. They allow children to construct knowledge through social interactions with adults and peers. Learning Lab Facilitation Guides provide prompts for teachers to support the development of important inquiry skills, such as making observations, asking questions, and gathering information (e.g., What happened when you mixed the red and yellow water? How will it change if we add more?). The curriculum encourages children to use language and other forms of communication to describe and document their work in the Science Lab (e.g., discuss, draw, or write about your observations). A limitation is that science experiences, including Science Lab, have specific instructions for children to follow. This leaves little room for teachers to build on children's previous experiences and interests or facilitate open-ended investigation. Additionally, other than in science-related units (e.g., Roots and Shoots, Fall into Fall, Healthy Me!), the curriculum does not provide children with multiple, varied, conceptually-related learning experiences in science.
Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development: Curiosity Corner promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's development in this domain. The Teacher's Manual provides general guidance for setting up a safe indoor environment that encourages active physical exploration. Each thematic unit includes daily Move It! activities and suggestions for Outdoor Play/Gross Motor activities that offer regular opportunities to participate in moderate to vigorous physical activities and to practice new physical skills. Most Move It! activities increase children's cognitive understanding of movement. For example, in response to the song "Sammy," children act out different ways they can locomote to the store, such as flying, running, and hopping. The curriculum promotes fine motor skills in Learning Labs (e.g., Writing, Puzzles & Games, Art) and Plan & Play. The Healthy You! unit offers multiple strategies to introduce children to a broad range of health, safety, and nutrition topics. However, the curriculum lacks guidance on creating a safe outdoor environment that encourages physical activity and intentional teaching practices to support children's development of physical skills (e.g., practicing specific skills, providing children individualized feedback).