Wondering what a curriculum framework really is?
"Curriculum is an organized framework that delineates the content children are to learn, the processes through which children achieve the identified curricular goals, what teachers do to help children achieve these goals and the context in which teaching and learning occur.”
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
The Center's Curriculum consists of information related to the children's learning process in one tight package. It is a guideline for the staff in their everyday work, and it also tells a lot about you and your values to the families. Therefore, it is a nice idea to have your Center's Curriculum available for the families too. With this as starting point, you can then plan your daily work and create the syllabus consisting of the weekly plans, preplanned lesson plans, etc.
How to create the curriculum framework?
It is very important to think about how your center operates and what are the core values that everyone should know. Writing down the curriculum with the staff unites your team and sets everyone on the same page.
When planning, arranging and developing early childhood education and care, the primary goal must always be the overall wellbeing of the children. Children’s interests, wishes and needs guide the teachers work forward.
I have prepared a list of questions that guide you when writing down your Center’s Curriculum. The checklist is based on Finnish best practices. Naturally, you should adapt these to your local needs and requirements. Think of the questions in detail, as thinking of the topics and issues ahead makes it all easier when the situation hits you - for example, a case when someone is bullied. When your team has a clear practice of how to deal with bullying, families trust your professionalism and most of all children feel secure, valued, and happy.
Take a look at the topics and issues and include the relevant ones in your Center’s Curriculum!
- Staff and the center
- What is our center like?
- Who are the teachers?
- What type of facilities are there?
- What are our core values?
- Are all staff members aware of the values and committed to them?
- What is our daily schedule like?
- What is our weekly/monthly/yearly plan like?
- Children and Families
- How many children/groups are in the center?
- How are children’s interests, wishes, and views are taken into consideration?
- How do we prevent bullying?
- How do we promote friendships?
- How do we promote equality and respect diversity?
- How do we communicate with the families?
- New child
- How is a new child welcomed to the center?
- What kind of information should the family provide?
- What kind of information is shared with the families?
- How does the child get to know the center and staff?
- How many times/when should the family visit the center before starting?
- What are the areas of learning at our center?
- What kind of learning environments are there (inside and outside)?
- How do teachers plan activities?
- How is children’s development monitored and assessed?
- Check the Curriculum from the City of Helsinki to get a deep understanding of Finnish best practices.
- Pedagogical documentation
- How is the process of pedagogical documentation and portfolio learning arranged at the center?
- How does pedagogical documentation guide the planning of the activities?
- How are pedagogical documents shared with the families?
- How is pedagogical documentation stored?
- Assessment and development
- How do we assess our work?
- How often do we have staff meetings?
- How often do we have staff appraisals?
- How do we use pedagogical documentation as a tool for assessment and development?
- What are we good at?
- What areas should we develop/focus more on?
- Does the staff have possibilities or tools for self-assessment?
- Does the staff have possibilities for training?
- How do we collect feedback from the children and families?
In coming posts we will discuss two other important topics:
- What is a Child's Individual Early Education Plan?
- What is a Group Curriculum?
In the meantime watch our video to see how Kindiedays supports the children's learning!