The curriculum should reflect ideas of the children – once it does, everything goes well and learning will be fun!
Early childhood education curriculum lays the base for learning and later education. Quality early childhood education brings several positive outcomes for the children but also for the society. Good curriculum explains good teaching methods:
- interact in a sensitive manner
- take into children’s interests into account
- create learning environments together with the children
- care for the children
- enable play and learning
Curriculum is a guide that tells how to offer equal and consistent early childhood education. By working along those guidelines, all children receive the same possibilities for learning.
Childhood is an important phase in life
Early childhood is a major phase in our lives: many developmentally important steps are taken already before going to school. Therefore, what happens in early childhood is important not only because of this moment, but also because of the future.
Curriculum is like a path that starts in early childhood and continues much further, creating a consistent and life-long path of learning.
Let the curriculum serve as a guide path but do not forget that each child is unique! Not all children need to move strictly along the path; some children might jump over some rocks while others slip and slide in muddy puddles and someone moves backwards.
Starting point for learning: the children
In early childhood education, child’s previous experiences, interests and skills are the starting point for learning. Children are part of planning, implementation and assessment according to their age level.
Curriculum contains information about the pedagogical activities in early childhood education. It is important that the activities interest the children and are challenging, but not too hard. Activities should encourage children to learn and develop their capabilities.
Children are "the boss"
Curriculum should show the voice of children. Children’s ideas, interests, opinions and thoughts must guide the activities and curriculum forward. It is important for the children to experience being part of the group and get the feeling that their ideas and opinions are important.
Teaching methods and learning environments should encourage children to experiment, test and practise things. Children should also get support for their learning when needed.
Curriculum must give space for play. Play is important for both learning and well-being of children. Play motivates children and brings joy.
In short: curriculum is important as it guides teachers about how to teach and what to teach. An essential part of the curriculum are obviously the children! The curriculum should reflect their ideas – once it does, everything goes well and learning will be fun!
References: Finnish National Agency for Education