Here are steps about how to create a preschool curriculum! Define in a written form....
1. Learning goals & guidelines
This is an important, theoretic part of the curriculum. Pay attention to the quality of research you use and also to the accuracy of learning goals. Keep in mind that it is not necessary for children to accomplish a set of learning goals in a specific order, but at their own individual pace as we all are unique learners.
- Key elements of the state/city early learning standards
- Learning goals for children in each learning area
- Relevant and up-to-date research on childhood development
- Description of the group of children (needs, streghts, interests...)
- Introduction of the educators
2. Values, ethos & teaching
As much as children learn from teachers, teachers learn from children. In this section of the curriculum, discuss about the values and ethos of your preschool or early learning center. Open up how you communicate with the children and families, what type of behaviour and cooperation you value, how do you plan the activities and what drives your work community.
For example, in the Finland's National Core curriculum for ECEC defines values as follows:
- Intrinsic value of childhood
- Growth as a human being
- Rights of the child
- Equity, equality, and diversity
- Diversity of families
- Healthy and sustainable way of living.
Discuss and define the values that you stand behind of and list them clearly in your curriculum along the other important framework:
- Underlying values, ethos
- Communication styles with children and families
- Teaching styles
- Planning of activities
3. Learning environments
Imagine yourself as a child and look at the classroom from different perspectives: What can the child see and reach?
According to Resilient Educator the classroom environment for preschoolers should be a safe, creative landscape that enhances the learning process.
That is true.
Learning environment should be all that and more. It should be designed for children - and with children! Typical learning environment is the classroom. Imagine yourself as a child and look at the classroom from different perspectives: What can the child see and reach? What interests the child in the room? Are there possibilities for creative play and visual arts? How about ball games or resting?
In Finland we think that learning does not only happen inside classrooms, but the entire city can actually be the learning environment! Therefore, think about the environments you can incorporate in learning and add them in the curriculum. Libraries, forests, beaches, museums, football fields, neighborhoods... Learning can happen anywhere, both in the built environment or in nature.
- Ask the children what kind of classroom would they like have
- Ask the children where they would like to visit outside the classroom
- Introduce ways to incorporate both indoor and outdoor activities into the schedule
- Provide information on supplies and materials considered developmentally appropriate for preschool classrooms
- Think about the details inside your classroom: alternative seating, interesting displays on children's level, toys and materials available, place for resting and reading a book...
4. Projects based on learning areas
After the completion of the base curriculum framework, teachers can work toward planning their individual lesson projects based on the areas of learning.
The early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of your child from birth to 5 years old in the UK. Their learning areas are:
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal, social and emotional development
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
The learning areas can and should be mixed inside an activity. Young children learn best through play. Teacher should therefore find out the children’s interests and incorporate those in the learning activities and play. For example, if children are into dinosaurs, sessions about dinosaurs may offer children information about history, animals, and nature while enriching the child’s vocabulary. You can also imagine being dinosaurs and painting their giant footprints!
Young children learn best through play. Teacher should therefore find out the children’s interests and incorporate those in the learning activities and play.
5. Have fun with it
Resilient Educator puts it nicely: The goal is to make the most out of those early years and to foster a lifetime love of learning. To accomplish that, children should above all: have a good time. If you have fun creating the curriculum, there’s a good chance children will have fun too!
Last but surely not least is Assessment! Each year as the group of children - and possibly also educators - change, also the curriculum should be edited. Read it through carefully and make it fit the group of children: what are their interests this year, how does your learning environment look like this year, what are the educators' strenghts and so on.....