The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Early Childhood Curriculum Project provides guidance to early childhood programs about curricular resources for preschool children that are State-recommended because they are aligned with the State’s prekindergarten and kindergarten curricular frameworks, also known as the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards. The recommended list of resources also aligns with Healthy Beginnings: Supporting Development and Learning from Birth through Three Years of Age. The State-recommended curricular resources also align with selected pedagogy standards of the guidelines of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.
The Creative Curriculum for Preschool is a MSDE recommended curriculum and Smarty Pants has used it for almost 20 years. It aligns with Maryland Model for School Readiness, which also contributes to our framework of planning.
About Creative Curriculum
Our program uses The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, a comprehensive, research-based curriculum, which features exploration and discovery as a way of learning, enabling children to develop confidence, creativity, and lifelong critical-thinking skills. We’ve chosen this curriculum because it focuses on the skills and knowledge that are most important for helping your child to be successful in school. Throughout the year, The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool will help us plan learning experiences that are just right for your child, so that he or she can make progress at his or her own pace.
So, how does The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool support your child’s learning? It’s based on 38 objectives for development and learning that focus on all the areas that are most important for school success: social–emotional, cognitive, math, literacy, physical, language, social studies, science and technology, and the arts. These objectives are built into every activity that happens in the classroom, which means that all day long, the teacher is helping your child build skills and knowledge in these important areas.
In The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, learning happens through studies. Studies, which span several weeks, are in-depth, project-based investigations of topics that are part of your child’s everyday life. They feature topics like trees, buildings, clothes, and balls. In a study, children raise questions about the topic and find answers by exploring, experimenting, and investigating in a hands-on way—through activities that take place in the classroom and outdoors. Through studies, your child will learn important math, literacy, science, and other skills.
The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool also has support, built into every experience, for children who are English-language learners and children who have special needs. This helps to ensure that every child can participate in classroom activities and can be successful. There are also many opportunities for families to become involved in what’s happening in the classroom. Your child’s teacher will let you know about the different ways you can be part of these learning experiences. We hope that you’ll participate whenever possible and help to build the important connection between home and school.
We look forward to sharing more information with you as the year continues. We’re sure that with the help of The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, this is going to be a great year!
The Creative Curriculum for Preschool:
summarizes the latest theory and most up-to-date research about children's development and learning.
discusses the five components of teaching children effectively: how children develop and learn; the learning environment; what children learn; caring and teaching; and partnering with families.
offers sections on guiding children's behavior and teaching intentionally and responsively.
provides expanded content for supporting dual-language learners
includes dedicated volumes for math and literacy.
defines and incorporates 38 objectives for development and learning that are predictors of school success and tied to state early learning standards
READING TOO SOON
There is a widely held belief in this country (and many others) that if we start teaching children to read, write, and spell in preschool and kindergarten that they will be ahead of the game (and their peers) by first grade. We think that pushing our kids to start early will make them better and give them the edge.
But it doesn’t work that way, in fact it can be detrimental. Here’s why…
Children’s neurological pathways for reading, writing, and spelling are not formed yet at these young ages, therefore they are not equipped. In child development you can not miss, shortcut, or rush steps, it just doesn’t work.
Between 3 and 7 years old, predominantly the right side of the brain is developing. The right side of the brain is not where word reading takes place. The right side sees pictures and shapes and uses mental imagery to create the movie in their mind to understand the story. The left side of the brain is where we read words, it is responsible for decoding words into letters and phonetically sounding them out. This is true word reading. It is not until about age 7 that the corpus callosum fully connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain to make reading complete for kids.
By making children read when they really only have access to the right side of their brain, they are forced to memorize what words look like by shape and guess, opposed to being able to sound them out. Not true reading. Also, when kids are focused on memorizing what the words look like by shape, they are not using their right brain to create the movie in their mind, leading to low comprehension.
What you might not know is that developing a strong sense of balance and proprioception (knowing where your body is), is a mandatory precursors to being a strong learner and student. Balance and proprioception are achieved through play, movement, and experiencing your surroundings, not through sitting still reading.
Don’t get me wrong, I think being a good reader and spending lots of time reading is very important. Reading ability is probably the most important learned skill in our society. But the path to learning to read is counter-intuitive, the earlier we start them the harder it may be for them to achieve the skill of effortless reading needed to excel in school.
So how do we fix it?
Slow down. Let them use their body, play lots of games that require balance, help your child develop their balance and a sense of where their body starts and stops. Also, spend lots of time reading to them. Read to them so they can practice mental imagery in a relaxed environment. By reading to them, especially nursery rhymes, they train their ears to hear the slight differences in words, which is very important later when they are phonetically learning letters, sounding out words, and decoding words for spelling. (TV and videos can’t give this to them.)
Until you have worked on this, your efforts for mastery in reading, writing, and spelling will be in frustration.