Designing Curriculum for a Preschool: Standards and Philosophy Institution Affiliation Date Introduction Today increasing numbers of three and four year olds are enrolled in preschool education programs. Such programs are looked at by parents and teachers as a means of helping children become successful learners in the subsequent levels of learning…
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The content of what children are taught in preschool and the method of teaching, or the curriculum is what measures the effectiveness and quality of learning in preschools. Programs focusing on serving 3- and 4-year-olds should decide the content of what children learn, as well as the best way to learn, if they are to improve children’s school success by enhancing their early skills and knowledge. The aim of this paper is to offer a framework that those making decisions can make use of when evaluating curriculums that would be suitable for a preschool program. Definition and scope of a preschool Children’s Health Encyclopedia defines a preschool as ‘an early childhood program in which children combine learning with play in a program run by professionally trained adults.’ Common enrolment years are children aged between ages three and five. Kids as young as two can attend preschools. While a daycare is to enable parents to work, preschool emphasis is on learning and development. Before the 1960s, education of young children was primarily the role of families within the home. Nowadays, most young children spend a big part of their time away from their parents. This may partly be attributed to an increase in the number of mothers working away from home. Parents also feel the desire to give their children a head start academically. The qualities of a good preschool, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research are: Helping children to expand their knowledge and build on their vocabulary Focus on literacy and language skills, plus and interactive book reading An emphasis on teaching children basic problem solving skills Learning beginning skills involving the alphabet, numerals and spatial awareness Preschools with the above qualities are only possible when the curriculum designed is good enough. That means the curriculum designer or decision-maker has in mind, the child, the parents and the teacher. For instance, when involving parents, the curricula can help make program-family partnerships or set up continuous meaningful communication with families. Curricular decisions should consider children’s ages, learning needs, cultural and linguistic backgrounds and economic status. Prior experience and training for the teacher is also important. Components of a Preschool Curriculum Given the many types of curriculum models available, there is an uncertainty regarding which models are appropriate for young children overall or more understandable to the population of the three and four year olds. Though the fields of early childhood advocates for programs that utilize what are known as Developmentally Appropriate Practices (Bredekampe & Kopple, 1997), it has not much research to endorse any single curriculum model as the best. Additionally, not a single state government or federal body directs use of just one particular curriculum in the publicly funded preschool programs. When the term curriculum is left undefined it may be very difficult to know what should be learned. It is also hard to sketch “the set of goals which are the aims of education for children” (as cited in Spodek & Saracho, 2003) in their programs, and what supports the “children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth” (as cited in Bowman et al., 2001). The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Associ ...
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