The ultimate goal of literacy instruction is to ensure that all children are successful when formal reading instruction begins. The literacy experiences in this curriculum are built into large group, small group, and learning center activities. The six basic literacy-building skills embedded in LEARN EVERY DAYTM: The Preschool Curriculum are supported by reading readiness research and include the following:
The math activities within the LEARN EVERY DAY: The Preschool Curriculumfocus on more than just numbers, operations, geometry, and measurement. In keeping with the recommendation of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), algebra and data analysis are woven into the lessons.
The science component in LEARN EVERY DAY: The Preschool Curriculum was designed to ensure that children entering kindergarten will have a working knowledge about the natural world, including understanding cause and effect; recognition of some of the differences between animate and inanimate objects; a basic knowledge of the ways in which people’s beliefs, goals, and desires affect behavior; and a rudimentary understanding of substances and their properties.
Social studies permeates the preschool classroom, from learning about celebrations and community helpers to exploring identity in terms of family, culture, and community. Preschoolers using this curriculum begin their social studies explorations as they examine themselves, their families, and their community.
The natural curiosity of preschool-age children is enhanced as they begin forming relationships outside of their own families and exploring the world around them. While social studies involves learning about the world and its people, it also leads to the development of a strong social–emotional center as children begin to take on the perspectives of others, while becoming active participants in the larger world in which they live.
The creative arts in LEARN EVERY DAY: The Preschool Curriculum include such things as spontaneous creative play, singing, dancing, drawing, and role-playing. The arts are multisensory by design and involve a variety of modalities, including the kinesthetic, auditory, and visual. Engaging and encouraging children in creative activities on a regular basis helps wire their brains for successful learning.
Discovery learning in early childhood encompasses strategies that focus on active, hands-on opportunities for children to explore the world around them.
LEARN EVERY DAY: The Preschool Curriculum was designed so that children have multiple opportunities:
- to make generalizations about the information they have acquired through exploration and creative problem solving,
- to participate in high-interest activities that offer multiple ways to learn through a variety of modalities, and
- to incorporate new problem-solving strategies into their existing knowledge bases.
Children have preferences with respect to how they learn about the world. These preferences or sensory strengths help them grow and develop in many exciting ways. LEARN EVERY DAY: The Preschool Curriculum focuses on multisensory instruction by offering a variety of sensory experiences to facilitate learning. By designing an environment with sights and smells; language and auditory rhythm; and opportunities for gross and fine motor movement, touch, and manipulation, children experience the wonder of learning every day!
Principles outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) as being crucial components of best practice, and the research related to each, were used as the cornerstone for the development of this curriculum. For more in-depth information on the research base for the curriculum, read the LEARN EVERY DAY: The Preschool Curriculum Research Narrative (http://www.learneverydayabout.com/researchnarrative).
These principles are summarized as follows:
- All domains (physical, social, emotional, and cognitive) are interconnected and impacted by what takes place in the others.
- Development moves toward a greater complexity, self-regulation, and symbolic or representational capacities.
- Consistent relationships with responsive adults and opportunities for positive interactions with peers help children reach their maximum potential.
- The role of culture influences learning.
- Because children learn in many different ways, a wide range of teaching methods is required.
- Play is important for developing social–emotional skills, language, and problem-solving strategies.
- The learning environment should be challenging because children learn best when they have multiple opportunities to practice what they learn.
- Hands-on learning is meaningful.
- The experiences children have shape their motivation, as well as their behavior.
There are many opportunities for differentiated instruction in the curriculum. The small group activity included in each lesson is designed to be used with groups of four or fewer. In addition, these activities are easily modified for use with one child.
Children with special needs learn best in natural environments with their peers. Each unit contains a chart with adaptations for children with all types of special needs. For in-depth information about inclusion, see the article “Children with Special Needs: Blending All Learners in a Preschool Setting,” by Clarissa Willis in the Foundations for Learning guide.
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a strategy used to provide learning opportunities for students who are at risk for academic failure. This is especially important in terms of early literacy, as research indicates literacy is the strongest single predictor of success in academics as well as social development. For students in your classroom who are not meeting early literacy milestones, the Nemours BrightStart! The Complete Program for Early Literacy Success is the recommended companion for this curriculum. For more information, visit www.kaplanco.com/nemours.
Each unit contains an activity for enrichment and other tips for enhancing the learning for children who need a more challenging environment.