A program of Lutheran Social Services in western North Dakota and Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership in eastern North Dakota

Planning Curriculum & Activities

Young children learn by doing. They need to touch, move, push, pull, taste, smell and listen to develop understanding. Watching a child's activities and listening to their conversations will help you develop curriculum and activities that will capture their interest and foster learning.

Watch for Teachable Moments
Teachable moments happen everyday. Events such as, a child's first visit to the dentist or the arrival of a new baby can become the themes for dramatic play. The sprouting of new plants in the spring can introduce a science experiment. Watching for the mail carrier, can introduce children to different jobs that people have.

Acknowledge Unique Styles of Learning
Physical, intellectual, social and emotional development occurs in a realtively orderly sequence, but children have individual styles for learning. Some children are very active and social, others like to explore on their own. Offering a varity of leaning experiences helps children learn in the style that fits them best.

Encourage Active Learning
Children learn through direct experiences with people and things. For example, a child who is allowed to free play with blocks will learn first-hand about balance, weight and gravity. A child's daily schedule should incorporate time for them practice newly acquired skills and be challenged to try something new..

Help Children Feel Secure & Safe
Create environments where children feel safe and valued. When a child's physical and emotional needs met, they are better able to turn their attention to learning about their world.

Selecting a Curriculum & Assessment Tool

Curriculum
A curriculum can help providers guide their activities and routines with the children in their care. ‘Curriculum’ is a set of written materials that describe a particular approach to providing learning experiences for children. Choosing to implement one can help providers and early childhood teachers plan meaningful activities, enhance interactions, and increase caregivers’ understanding of child development to best support each child’s development and learning. Research shows that quality is enhanced when a curriculum is thoughtfully and purposefully incorporated into a child care setting.

Instructional Assessment Tool
An instructional assessment tool provides an on-going procedure to evaluate children’s progress and plan appropriate learning experiences. An instructional assessment tool provides caregivers with a way to chart the learning and growth of children in their care. Instructional assessment tools can show child care professionals what strategies are helping certain children learn and what could be changed to meet the needs of those children. Parents and child care professionals can better support children by using a learning assessment tool. Components to an instructional assessment tool include:

  • Observing, documenting, and evaluating children’s development, knowledge, skills, behaviors, and accomplishments from naturalistic observations, supplemented with information from other sources
  • Evaluating the information using early childhood or pre-kindergarten expectations, developmental guidelines, or other standards of comparison
  • Providing two-way communication with families regarding children’s interests, development and learning

An Important Decision
Choosing a curricula and instructional assessment tool that fits the needs of the children in your care; their families, and you; is an important decision that requires careful consideration. What you select and how you implement it, affects the outcomes for children. It is recommended that you research and explore the variety of currica and instructional assessment tools that are available before making your selection. A good place to start may be to review the following guide:


Training Recommendation

Visit the Child Care Aware® of North Dakota Training Center to search and register for training related to ND Core Competency: Learning Environment and Curriculum.