How do you prepare a tiny person to succeed in a big world? How do you ensure that they are not only prepared for academic tasks but understand what it means to persevere and be kind? Are their developing bodies ready to climb, cut with scissors, and tackle every obstacle they face with confidence?
Teaching young children is a lot of work! The preschool-age child is like a hungry sponge, ready to soak up whatever the world has to teach them! A quality preschool curriculum can ensure that every child gets what they need to thrive.
Bee All You Can Bee is a comprehensive preschool curriculum that addresses all of the developmental domains. It helps ensure that preschoolers develop into good students and good humans. But what is a preschool curriculum, and what makes one program more effective than another?
The benefits of a comprehensive preschool curriculum are numerous. Understanding why is the first step toward making the best decision for the children in your care. Read on to learn more about what to look for in a high-quality early childhood curricular program.
What Is a Curriculum?
If you aren’t a teacher, the word ‘curriculum’ might sound like just another education buzzword with a vague meaning. A curriculum is actually an essential tool at every level of education. You will find educators consulting a curriculum in the infant room of a daycare center, in a middle school phys ed classroom, and every university lecture hall!
By definition, a curriculum describes what teachers teach in a given program of study. It includes the tasks they will engage in as they learn concepts and show mastery. It is like a roadmap that educators or homeschooling parents can use to ensure that students learn all the skills they need to succeed.
Often, a curriculum includes the books and materials that a student will need as they learn and grow. In early childhood, that might be anything from picture books to play-doh! It can help teachers and parents curate a space where learning is active, even during downtime or playtime!
Most importantly, a curriculum provides you with objectives. It includes goals and milestones in every developmental area or domain. It ensures that you address every skill that students need to be successful.
A preschool curriculum is the cornerstone of a quality preschool program.
What Is a Preschool Program?
Even the highest quality preschool programs can be distinct and unique. Preschool programs can be center-based, home-based, or even virtual.
In essence, a preschool program is any situation in which one or more preschoolers are present for learning. It provides an opportunity to learn a variety of skills. Some skills may be academic, while others will be less concrete.
The element that makes a preschool program effective is the use of a preschool curriculum. A preschool curriculum ensures that adults can support healthy development across learning domains. It is an automatic and natural part of the child’s day.
Experts in child development are responsible for the development of preschool curricular programs. These professionals understand the progression of skills in preschool-age children.
Children crave structure and routine. A level of predictability helps them to anticipate what might happen before they have a concrete grasp of concepts like time. Quality preschool programs help children become independent as part of their school day.
The best programs include time to learn, time to play, and time to rest. They are active and allow children to communicate and solve problems. The ideal program will be both fun and effective, and children will take part in daily learning with excitement!
What Should a Complete Preschool Curriculum Include?
When professionals think about the many ways that young children develop, they separate them into what they call “domains.” Each domain is a specific area of human development. Preschool children learn, grow, and develop across five major domains.
The domains are cognitive, motor, adaptive, personal/social, and communication.
A complete preschool curriculum should support children’s growth across these domains. It will not favor one domain over another, but provide opportunities to address each area equally. Not all children develop evenly across these domains, but they all show steady growth through exposure and practice over time.
The highest quality preschool programs understand the connections between body and mind. They recognize that social skills are as valuable as academic ones. They provide opportunities for all children to show competence and confidence in each area.
It’s important to understand what sort of goals and activities to look for in a curricular program. Does the program address each domain?
The Cognitive Domain
The cognitive domain is the domain of thought. This may seem simple – don’t all children think? Addressing the cognitive domain means teaching children how to process, question, and solve problems with less frustration.
In a way, addressing the cognitive domain ensures that children understand what it means to be a learner! For example, children may not grasp that listening and retention is an active process. They may not recognize their role in memory and information retrieval without practice.
Academic skills often fall under the cognitive domain in the preschool setting. Reading, math, and writing fall under this domain. Science and social studies concepts belong here, too.
That is why comprehensive curriculum programs are often theme-based. That means that there is always a new, developmentally appropriate topic or question to grapple with. For example, in the Fall, students might investigate pumpkins as they practice inquiry.
Your preschool curriculum should allow students to actively engage in cognitive skills. Are they completing patterns, playing memory games, and solving puzzles? Are they constructing, creating, and using sources of information to answer questions?
The Motor Domain
The motor domain in early childhood development includes fine and gross motor development. Fine motor development describes the development of the small muscles in the hands. Gross motor development refers to the development of large muscles.
Playground time is not always enough to ensure that children develop motor skills. All able-bodied human beings experience cephalocaudal development. That means they develop from the head and core outward.
Children must use and engage specific muscles before they can begin to develop the muscles that help them write and draw. This is why tummy time is so important in infancy. Strong muscles build strong writers and listeners.
A child cannot sit up and engage in learning if their core muscles are weak. This can make it hard to focus and may lead teachers with less knowledge to assume a child is slacking or playing. A strong core helps students engage for a longer period of time.
Children who struggle with fine motor skills can become frustrated when it’s time to engage in independent tasks. Weak fine motor skills make it hard to hold a crayon, form letters and numbers, or create an art project. They affect skills in the adaptive domain, too, such as buttoning jackets.
A quality preschool curriculum will build opportunities to strengthen these muscles into the day. This might mean working with modeling clay, participating in a ring-toss, or even climbing stairs! Ultimately, this domain is as important as any other because it leads to confidence, stamina, and success.
The Adaptive Domain
Take a moment and think about how much time you spend teaching and learning. Are you spending a lot of time zippering jackets, opening fruit snacks, or making up naptime cots? Are these things children could do instead?
The adaptive domain addresses self-care tasks. It includes everything from dressing oneself to eating a healthy diet. Preschool-age children must have these skills modeled so they can gain mastery!
The adaptive domain also prioritizes the task of teaching children how to be safe and aware. Do they understand that their body exists in three-dimensional space? Do they know when and where it’s safe to run?
Often, this part of the preschool program happens during the part of the day you think of as ‘downtime.’ The truth is, young children are learning just as much when they pour water as they learn when they listen to a story. Teachers refer to the curriculum to understand how to support children as they master tasks of daily living.
The Personal/Social Domain
It is wonderful if children leave a preschool program with the ability to read and write. Does that matter if they do not understand the concept of personal space?
Is reading more important than understanding how to comfort a sad friend? Can the children in your program solve a sharing problem? Are they able to self-soothe in a frustrating situation?
Developmentally, professionals describe children as ego-centric. In early childhood, this is natural and not a negative thing! Adults encourage children to grow beyond their inner world, and that begins at school.
The personal/social domain addresses a child’s ability to relate to the self and others. It involves teaching conflict resolution, naming and identifying emotions, and developing coping strategies. In essence, it is where teachers address and grow a child’s emotional intelligence.
Often, this begins with high-quality children’s literature and real-world problem-solving. Curriculums provide the language that can help teachers start important conversations. They can guide teachers as they teach about imagining others with complexity and compassion.
Children will learn to express themselves clearly and get what they need.
The Communication Domain
There are a lot of communication skills to learn! The communication domain is about more than learning to speak. It’s about learning to listen and respond appropriately.
The communication domain builds both expressive and receptive language skills. Expressive language is the way that students share thoughts and understanding. Receptive language is the way that children take in and process what they are hearing and apply it.
A quiet early childhood classroom is great at naptime. During the day, children should have plenty of opportunities to speak and listen. A quality curriculum will build these opportunities into the day so that they are productive.
Skills might include conversational turn-taking. You might ask children to listen, repeat, and rephrase. Even games like Simon Says help us to understand receptive language skills!
Furthermore, your curriculum will teach teachers to be communication guides. It will help them to model the communication skills that children need to succeed in school and the world beyond.
The more exposure that children have to novel vocabulary, the more their communication skills will grow! Quality preschool curriculums will expose children to this novelty through thematic content. Each theme involves specific vocabulary that children can process and apply as they learn together.
Be All You Can Be With Our Accredited Preschool Curriculum
The purpose of a preschool curriculum is to ensure that parents and teachers address every developmental domain. You should select a curriculum and preschool program with the young child’s needs in mind. Is it playful, comprehensive, and active?
The right curriculum doesn’t require you to be an expert. The right curriculum requires you to care enough to help young children develop into smart, capable people. Great teaching begins with an excellent preschool curricular program!
If you are looking for preschool curriculums to purchase, the Bee All You Can Be preschool curriculum is your perfect option. It is ideal for preschools, homeschooling families, and even online education! It addresses each learning domain in fun, thematic, engaging ways.
Are you ready to help the children in your care get ready to tackle the world? Visit our store to browse our accredited curriculum offerings for the birth to five population. The growth and confidence in your students or your own children will amaze you!